18 Suspects Plead Guilty to Roles in Beaufort Drug Ring

18 Plead Guilty to Trafficking Cocaine, Prescription Drugs for Beaufort Drug Ring

Beaufort drug ringIn August 2012, an indictment led to the arrest of 32 people linked to a Beaufort County, SC drug ring that sold cocaine and prescription drugs for years in the area. Now, 18 suspects have pleaded guilty in federal court to the Beaufort drug ring charges.

Four of those indicted so far have been sentenced. The indictment alleged that all 32 suspects conspired to “unlawfully possess with intent to sell and distribute” cocaine and oxycodone pills.

The four defendants sentenced for their part of the Beaufort drug ring, so far, are:

  • David Heape Harriott pleaded guilty Feb. 26; sentenced to time served on Sept. 10, 2014.
  • Henry Wallace pleaded guilty Aug. 13, 2013; sentenced to five years on July 30.
  • John Corson pleaded guilty March 19; sentenced to time served on June 25.
  • Jason Heape Harriott pleaded guilty Jan. 24, 2013; sentenced to 10 years and one month on May 27.

The other 14 guilty pleas in the Beaufort drug ring case are:

  • Leon Edward Hudson Jr., Aug. 13, 2013
  • Jeremy Heape Harriott, Sept. 23, 2013
  • Carson Reed Lewin, May 21
  • Franklin Babecki, May 28
  • Devan Faltus, Aug. 11
  • Sam Elliott Langford, Aug. 11
  • Steven Leonard Parker, Aug. 11
  • Katherine Marie Swiatocha, Aug. 11
  • Donta Mikel Williams, Aug. 12
  • C. Williams, Aug. 12
  • Anthony Jarvis King, Aug. 12
  • Randall Smith, Sept. 9
  • Kimberly Filbert, Sept. 9

And, most importantly, former physician Vincent Rhodes pleaded guilty in February 2013, admitting to a federal judge that he wrote fraudulent painkiller prescriptions for people who did not need them for chronic pain, in exchange for cocaine.

According to court documents, Rhodes initially wrote painkiller prescriptions for only a few people, starting in 2004, but the Beaufort drug ring expanded when the original group brought in other painkiller addicts for fraudulent prescriptions. Eventually, Rhodes was writing prescriptions for powerful narcotic painkillers “knowing the pills would not go to the patients.”

Drug Trafficking Charges in South Carolina: Cocaine, Marijuana, Heroin

Defendants facing drug penalties in South Carolina can be punished with a monetary fine and mandatory minimum sentences of up to life in prison with no chance of parole, depending on:

  • the amount of drugs involved
  • whether the case is brought in state or federal district court, and
  • how many prior drug offenses a defendant has.

Trafficking charges are based upon the weight of the drug you are in possession of:

  • Ten grams of cocaine
  • Four grams of heroin
  • Ten pounds of marijuana

Penalties for drug trafficking can include a minimum sentencing of 25 years. Trafficking and distribution offenses are considered violent, no-parole offenses and a conviction can certainly have you serving the full time you are sentenced to.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Drug Ring or Trafficking Charges

If you have received criminal drug abuse charges, or are suspected of abusing prescription painkillers like Oxycodone, you are not automatically guilty, and you do not give up any of your rights. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help defend you. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Do not let criminal drug charges such as trafficking or possession ruin your reputation and career prospects. Contact us today. 803.252.4800.

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