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34 indicted for meth trafficking organization run largely from within SC prisons, AG says

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) – Thirty-four people from across the state, including several inmates, have been indicted after an investigation into a methamphetamine trafficking organization that largely operated from within prisons in South Carolina.

Mobile web users, tap here to view a slideshow of some of the indicted individuals

Between January and May of this year, a State Grand Jury returned 19 indictments alleging multiple connected conspiracies, each related to trafficking 400 grams of more of meth, as well trafficking heroin, firearms-related charges, and other crimes, according to a news release from the office of the South Carolina Attorney General.

The State Grand Jury investigation focused on the meth trafficking organization, which was led by South Carolina Department of Corrections inmates operating within prisons, the release states. The inmates used contraband cell phones and smartphones with internet access to direct drug deliveries, sales, payments, and other activities to co-conspirators outside prison walls.

According to the release, the individuals charged and already brought into custody are:

  • Robert Anthony Gracely a/k/a “Tony G,” 44, an inmate at Broad River Correctional Institution
  • Nicanor Perez Rodriguez a/k/a “Nico,” 37, an inmate at Lee Correctional Institution
  • Enrique Ascencio, 27, Greenville, SC
  • Lori Renae Banning, 40, Forest City, N.C.
  • Diego Javier Beltran, 35, Greenville, S.C.
  • Tiffani Ann Brown, 38, Athens, GA
  • Stephen Dell Burns, 46, Lyman, S.C.
  • Leslie Danielle Center, 31, Greer, S.C.
  • Amanda Marie Collins, 30, Greer, S.C.
  • Saladeem Ali Crumpler, 36, Effingham, S.C.
  • John Shannon Dickerson a/k/a “Shady”, 35, Greer, S.C.
  • Yosif Enibtawi a/k/a “Joseph”, 46, Greer, S.C.
  • Juan Carlos Rios Espinoza, 23, Doraville, GA
  • Beauford Brotus Hartin a/k/a “Tadpole”, 54, Marietta, S.C.
  • Jessica Jackson a/k/a “Jessica Csikari,” 31, Greer, SC
  • Richard Ryan Jones a/k/a “White”, 40, Gaffney, S.C.
  • Ronald Elmer Miller a/k/a “Gabby”, 54, Taylors, S.C.
  • Dwane Andrew Mitchell, 34, Easley, S.C.
  • Dennis Murguia-Holguin, 20, Tucker, GA
  • Kayla Shai Nichols, 24, Surfside Beach, S.C.
  • Salvador Ramirez, 32, Greenville, SC
  • Randy Stewart Sheppard, Jr. a/k/a “Bofa”, 31, Greenville, S.C.
  • Bryan Michael Stegall, 34, Murrells Inlet, S.C.
  • Michael Bobby Stegall, 50, Easley, S.C.
  • Fred Allen Stewart, 42, Moore, S.C.
  • Richard Edgar Thompson, 29, Easley, SC
  • Todd Scott Thorne, 43, Greer, S.C.
  • Gabrielle Annette Whitmire a/k/a “Gabby”, 35, Easley, S.C.
  • Wendolyn Faye Whitt, 52, Easley, S.C.

The following individuals have been charged but not yet brought into custody, the release states:

  • Gerri Moranda Blackwell, 34, Gaffney, S.C.
  • Robert Scott Musser, a/k/a “Joker”, 40, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • Sam Salvatore Passanisi, Jr., 53, Galt, CA
  • Michael John Powell a/k/a “Red”, 38, Duncan, S.C.
  • Traci Duncan Smiley, 46, Monroe, GA

The release continues:

The investigation is still ongoing and is being conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) with assistance and cooperation from the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Detention Center, Greenville Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit, Easley Police Department, Travelers Rest Police Department, Greer Police Department, Welford Police Department, South Carolina Department of Corrections - Office of Inspector General, South Carolina Highway Patrol, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Postal Service, South Carolina National Guard Counter-Drug Unit, Barrow County Sheriff’s Office (Georgia), Walton County Sheriff’s Office (Georgia), and Polk County Sheriff’s Office (North Carolina).

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Joshua R. Underwood and Assistant Attorney General Michael D. Ross.

Attorney General Wilson stressed that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

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