For Immediate Release
State and Federal Indictments Unsealed: 21 Defendants Arrested on Gun and Drug Charges After Two-Year Undercover Collaborative Law Enforcement Effort
Multi-agency “North Charleston Violent Crime Community Impact Investigation” Launched in October of 2014
Columbia, South Carolina - United States Attorney Beth Drake announced today that 21 individuals have been arrested on state and federal charges for drug and firearms violations.
Beginning in October of 2014, the ATF Charlotte Field Division, working with several law enforcement partners, began an undercover investigation in North Charleston, launched as the North Charleston Violent Crime Community Impact Investigation. The investigation focused on drug trafficking activities as well as the illegal possession of firearms. This two-year investigation, which involved nearly 200 undercover operations, resulted in purchase of 58 firearms, over three and a half pounds of cocaine and crack cocaine, 80 grams of methamphetamine and 41 grams of heroin.
This operation was a combined law enforcement effort in the city of North Charleston and surrounding communities and included special agents from ATF, ICE-Homeland Security Investigations, as well as officers and deputies from the North Charleston Police Department, the Charleston Police Department, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office. The charges filed against the defendants in this operation are being prosecuted by the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charleston.
“ATF is extremely appreciative of our partners and this collaborative effort to make North Charleston and the surrounding area a safer place,” said Charlotte Field Division's Special Agent in Charge C.J. Hyman. “ATF has committed our resources to help tackle firearms trafficking, illegal criminal firearm possession and other violent crimes happening in the area. That commitment, combined with the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies, federal partners, the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, has resulted in a very successful operation with a long-term impact on violent crime in this community.”
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson echoed that sentiment. “This multi-agency partnership charted a proactive effort to secure our community by focusing on dangerous individuals who plague our streets with gun and drug driven violence.”
U.S. Attorney Beth Drake commended the partnership between the local, state, and federal agencies and thanked the agents and law enforcement officers for the work that went into bringing the state and federal charges. “We work best when we work together. This kind of community impact case, where federal authorities pick up gun and drug charges on repeat offenders and the State Solicitor prosecutes the dealers without a significant prior record, is the sort of collaboration that has real impact on the lives of the people living in the community. Community safety is what we are about.”
The United States Attorney stated that all charges in this indictment are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.