Connect with us

Featured

FEDS NAB 26 “RING LEADERS” IN MYRTLE BEACH AREA DRUG STING

Published

on

Advertisements

26 Charged with Federal Drug Conspiracy and Firearms Charges in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Florence

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr. announced today that a joint team of more than 85 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested 18 individuals who have been charged in federal court for their roles in an interstate drug trafficking organization that operated out of Myrtle Beach, Conway, and Florence, South Carolina. Three other defendants were already in custody on related charges.

Five additional defendants remain at large.


These arrests mark the first in Operation New Optix, the latest iteration in a series of joint federal/local investigations targeting drugs and violent crime in Myrtle Beach and the greater Pee Dee region. This multi-year operation specifically targeted members of this drug trafficking organization based on their interstate importation of large quantities of cocaine and cocaine base (commonly referred to as “crack cocaine”) into South Carolina, and their use of firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking crimes.

Advertisements

“As this office has made clear time and again, violent criminals will find no safe harbor in South Carolina,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “More than 80 federal, state, and local agents stepped into harm’s way this morning. This type of selflessness and cooperation is why we have been successful in charging hundreds of individuals for major drug trafficking crimes or serious firearms offenses in the last several months alone. These types of operations specifically target entire criminal organizations, which in turn allow us to protect communities in the Pee Dee region and across South Carolina.”

“Citizens in Myrtle Beach, Conway and Florence are safer when violent
cocaine traffickers can no longer peddle poison in their communities,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy. “While the charges in this case speak for themselves, dangerous drug trafficking organizations using firearms to protect their operations needlessly endanger the public. DEA and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting communities from violent drug traffickers.”


“The Florence County Sheriff’s Office has a long and proud history of working with state, local and federal partners to keep illegal narcotics off of our streets and we will continue to support those efforts,” said Florence County Sheriff Billy Barnes. “We are pleased to have been a part of this most successful operation.”

“I want to thank our officers and our law enforcement partners for their hard work,” said Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock. “Here in Myrtle Beach, the local, state and federal partners are committed to keeping our community safe. This case demonstrates that commitment and the strength of the partnerships we have as a law enforcement community.”

The following defendants are in custody:
 Shackeel Coleman, 29, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more ofcocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 10 years to Life imprisonment.
 Kimo Felton, 41, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 10 years to Life imprisonment.
 Harry Bellamy, 41, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 28 grams of cocaine base, and a quantity of marijuana. This charge carries a potential penalty of 10 years to Life imprisonment.
 Steven Jeffcoat, 30, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 28 grams of cocaine base. This charge carries a potential penalty of 10 years to Life imprisonment.
 Lenard Hemingway, 53, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Yenitza Coleman, 27, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Jasamine Mitchell, 32, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Timothy McCray, 31, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment
 Henry Boyd, 39, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Timothy Lee, 27, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Jacqueline Strickland, 59, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Venson Strickland, 29, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 James Graham, 30, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
 Alonzo Lee Pierce, 37, of Galivants Ferry is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Gary Jackson, 30, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.

 Alton Brown, 41, of Florence is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine and a quantity of cocaine base. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
 Joshua Darby, 32, of Murrells Inlet is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine and a quantity of cocaine base. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
 Travis Rogers, 40, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Kevin Linnen, 33, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
 Mario Williams, 41, of Florence is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine and a quantity of marijuana. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
 Robert Hooker, 40, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.

The following defendants are still at large:
 Bradley Adams, 26, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Brandon Prawl, 35, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 28 grams or more of cocaine base. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment.
 Quentin Smith, 29, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base. This charge carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years imprisonment. He is also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime which carries a potential penalty of 5 years consecutive to any other penalty imposed.
 Curtis McArthur, 35, of Longs is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
 Ernest Smalls Jr, 38, of Little River is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.

Advertisements

This operation builds on years of successful efforts to target violent crime in the area. In 2017, Operation Silver Sunset targeted 29 associates of the Billy Bloods street gang, a subset of the United Blood Nation.

In 2018, Operation Rise and Shine targeted 33 associates of G-Shine/SMG, another subset of the Bloods.

Earlier in 2020, Operation Broken Branch targeted 31 members of a drug trafficking organization in the Cedar Branch area of Horry County.

Today’s arrests mark the latest, but not the last, investigation targeting violent crime in
this area.

During the course of this investigation, agents interdicted multiple kilograms of cocaine before it was distributed. Agents also seized additional drugs and firearms in connection with today’s arrests.

Agents of the Florence Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led this investigation with significant participation from the following agencies: Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Myrtle Beach Police Department, Horry County Police Department, North Myrtle Beach Police Department, Florence County Sheriff’s Office – Special Operations Group, Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit, Conway Police Department, and Horry County Sherriff’s Office.

Assistant United States Attorney Everett McMillian is prosecuting the case in coordination with the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Operation New Optix is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

The United States Attorney stated that all charges against these defendants are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Comments

comments

David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Get more stuff

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Advertisement

Trending