Lexington Co. man pleads guilty in federal court

Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - A Lexington County man pled guilty in federal court to possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said Paul Archibald Beatty III, 29, pled guilty to the charge in Columbia.

Evidence presented at a change of plea hearing established that on Sept. 21, 2007, the West Columbia Police Department arrested a local drug dealer. During the arrest, police say that the dealer's cell phone rang and at the instruction of the police, the dealer answered it.

Beatty began to yell at the dealer to return the crack cocaine Beatty had previously delivered and arranged to meet with the dealer for the return. Police stopped the car in which Beatty was a passenger. During the stop Beatty gave police permission to search his house, where they found around 90 grams of crack cocaine and a number of firearms.

U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie accepted the plea and will impose sentence at another court date.

The maximum penalty Gaither can receive is a fine of $8 million or imprisonment for life, plus a special assessment of $200.

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