Man arrested for animal torture following CF head shop raid

Lloyd Allen Michels (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Lloyd Allen Michels (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Source: WMBF News Reporter Sean Maginnis
Source: WMBF News Reporter Sean Maginnis

CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) Over a week after uniformed and undercover agents kicked in the glass door of a head shop in Carolina Forest, one arrest has been made in the case.

Booking records for J. Reuben Long Detention Center show 25-year-old Lloyd Allen Michels of Myrtle Beach was arrested on Thursday and charged with six counts of ill treatment to animals, two of which were for the torture of animals.

He is also charged with one count of manufacturing/distribution/possession of LSD and cocaine.

Michels remains incarcerated under a $7,500 bond.

The incident report WMBF News attained from Horry County Police indicates that warrants were obtained for the arrest of Michels and a second suspect, Sep Snyder, after DEU units searched the Before 20 Head Shop on June 11.

The Carolina Forest Chronicle first reported the incident when officers with the 15th Judicial Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit and Horry County Police approached the Before 20 Head Shop around 2:40 p.m., just behind Dick's Pawn Shop on Highway 501.

The incident report says units searching the building, serving a search warrant for narcotics violations, found four ball pythons, three of which were in very poor condition.

Those snakes were removed by Animal Control and taken to the Horry County Animal Care Center and turned over to the staff there to be held and cared for pending trial.

The report says the snakes appeared to be dehydrated and their tanks were filled with feces.

During the raid, authorities discovered a total of six snakes, two of which were dead from neglect. Police also found a stolen moped, they believe was driven by the suspect.

Authorities have not yet arrested the second suspect, who is also expected to face charges for operating without a business license, narcotics, stolen property, and animal cruelty.

Bishop told The Chronicle a complaint was phoned in about two weeks ago that the business was selling illegal drugs, including synthetic marijuana and illegal bath salts.

One week before, an undercover agent bought an undetermined amount of acid, Bishop said, prompting police to obtain a search warrant, setting up Monday's raid.

A man who asked only to be called Jason, who works at the business next door to Before Twenty, tells WMBF News he suspected illegal activity due to the unusual hours the business operated.

"I had a feeling," Jason said. "Sometimes the guys wouldn't even be there; sometimes they might show up in the middle of the night; sometimes I would come in at seven in the morning, you would hear somebody waking up like they had been staying in there."

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