10 people face drug, weapons charges in ‘Operation Lowcountry Line’

10 people face drug, weapons charges in ‘Operation Lowcountry Line’
Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies announced multiple arrests Wednesday as part of Operation Lowcountry Line. (Source: Live 5)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The U.S. Attorney, flanked my members of multiple federal, state and local law enforcement, announced what she called the takedown of a major drug ring in the Tri-County area Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon said 10 people were indicted and face multiple charges in a two-year investigation called Operation Lowcountry Line. Nine of the 10 were arrested Wednesday morning by the Lowcountry Crime Task Force, a relatively new task force consisting of seven agencies. Those agencies include Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant Police, the Charleston and Berkeley County Sheriff’s Offices and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lydon announced two separate cases as part of the operation. In the first, six people were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, she said. Three of the six also face firearms charges, she said.

In the second, four have been charged with conspiracy with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and cocaine base.

  • Devant Porcher was attributed 100 grams or more of heroin, five grams or more of methamphetamine, 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine in the conspiracy count and charged with 13 additional counts related to the distribution of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and cocaine base.
  • Lamar Johnson was attributed five kilograms or more of cocaine in the conspiracy count and charged with using a communication facility to facilitate drug trafficking and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine.
  • Theadore Bernard Gadsden was attributed a quantity of heroin and 500 grams or more of cocaine in the conspiracy count and charged with possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and using a communication facility to facilitate drug trafficking.
  • Pierce Nelson was attributed a quantity of cocaine in the conspiracy count and charged with possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
  • Jaton Edwards was attributed 500 grams or more cocaine in the conspiracy count and charged with possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
  • Jarvis Behrens was attributed 500 grams or more cocaine in the conspiracy count and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
  • Melinda Lynch was attributed five grams or more of methamphetamine in the conspiracy count and charged with possessing with intent to distribute and distributing methamphetamine and heroin.
  • Theodore Gadsden was attributed a quantity of cocaine in the conspiracy count and charged with using a communication facility to facilitate drug trafficking and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
  • Wandesha Smalls was attributed five grams or more of methamphetamine and a quantity of heroin in the conspiracy count and charged with possession with intent to distribute and distributing methamphetamine and heroin.

An additional defendant was charged but the specific charges are currently under seal, she said.

Agents have seized almost two kilograms of cocaine, almost 100 grams of crack cocaine, 480 grams of heroin, 440 grams of methamphetamine and seven firearms, she said.

The people arrested in the operation face prison sentences of between four to 20 years and fines of up to $5 million.

“My messages to the parents who lost a child who lost a loved one, a mother or father, a sibling, a sister, a brother to gun violence: Today's a good day. We're beginning to bring you justice. And you deserve that,” Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said. “Those people that are out there that don't care about our communities, we are going to do our best to put you behind bars, because that's where you belong.”

“We don’t have borders anymore, bad guys,” North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess said of the collaborative effort of the task force that consists of multiple agencies working together, even across city, town or county lines. “The game is up, man. The time has come. You either get right or get dealt with in jail."

Lydon was joined by representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Charleston Police Department, North Charleston Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.

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