MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper was terminated on Wednesday after the Department of Public Safety learned he was the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI.
Lance Corporal J.D. McGaha has been charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics in connection to a 132-count federal indictment alleges that two Myrtle Beach businessmen operated a criminal enterprise, along with several other area associates, with the express purpose of laundering money made from criminal acts for its members, and assisting its members in hindering law enforcement from identifying, apprehending and prosecuting them. The indictment also alleges that members of this enterprise possessed and distributed cocaine.
McGaha, who was assigned to Troop 5 Post D, which covers the Horry County area, was terminated for improper conduct/conduct unbecoming of a state employee, according to an official with SCDPS.
The SCDPS Office of Professional Responsibility began its investigation into McGaha on Tuesday, after being informed that he was the subject of the FBI investigation. The OPR's investigation into this matter continues.
McGaha was hired by the SCHP in 2005, and reached the rank of Lance Corporal, officials stated. In 2006, he was named Statewide Rookie of the Year, according to SCDPS documents. He has two reprimands on his record, according to SCDPS. In March 2009, he received a 36-hour suspension for excessive speeding in his Patrol vehicle, and in April 2011, he received a 36-hour suspension, reassignment and demotion in rank for speeding.
The April 2011 suspension was for Violation of Traffic Laws in a State Vehicle and Negligence in Following Rules, Regulations, Policies or Procedures. McGaha was scheduled to attend a training class in Lexington. He arrived 30 minutes late to class. The department received a citizen complaint that Trooper McGaha's vehicle was seen traveling over the speed limit on I-20. When confronted about the matter, Tpr. McGaha admitted to speeding, said Sherri Iacobelli, SCDPS.
WMBF News has reached out to the FBI for more details on the ongoing investigation.