Eight More Suspects Indicted on Federal Drug Charges

Drug Ring Bust Turns Up 8 More Suspects, Arrested on Federal Drug Charges

federal drug chargesEight more people have been indicted on federal drug charges related to a drug ring that distributed cocaine and prescription painkillers like oxycodone in Beaufort County. The total number of people arrested on federal drug charges so far has now reached 32.

The accused people “knowingly and intentionally did combine, conspire and agree to … unlawfully possess with intent to sell and distribute” oxycodone and cocaine, starting in about January 2004, according to the indictment.

Five people have pleaded guilty to the federal drug charges so far, including physician Vincent Rhodes, who admitted in February of this year to a federal judge that he wrote painkiller prescriptions for patients who did not need prescription drugs, in exchange for cocaine.

Rhodes agreed to cooperate with the investigation, but it is currently unclear if any information he provided led to the new federal drug charge indictments. Others who have pleaded guilty include Jason Heape Harriott on Jan. 24, Leon Edward Hudson Jr. and Henry Wallace on Aug. 13, and Jeremy Heape Harriott on Sept. 23.

US Attorney Peter Phillips said that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and local law enforcement worked in partnership after receiving tips from local pharmacies, and began investigating the influx of oxycodone addiction in Beaufort County. The federal drug charges and indictments will continue as the investigation continues.

According to Phillips, one of the biggest tips was noticing that Rhodes started writing more prescriptions for painkillers for people who had no medical need. The scheme expanded until he was writing prescriptions for opioid painkillers for people brought in by co-conspirators “knowing the pills would not go to the patients.”

Rhode’s license renewal deadline has been extended until June 30th, 2015, but that is in part due to the federal drug charges investigation. The SC Board of Medical Examiners has indefinitely suspended his license to practice.

“The Beaufort Police Department Investigation Division provided assistance over the course of the investigation with gathering evidence and intelligence, which led to the federal indictments,” spokeswoman Hope Able said in a statement.

Also facing charges are Sam Elliot Langford, David Heape Harriott, Steven Leonard Parker, Katherine Marie Swiatocha, M.C. Williams, Donta Mikel “Boss” Williams, Anthony Jarvis “A.J.” King, Carson Reed Lewin, Kimberly Filbert, Franklin Babecki, Desiree Constantineau, Dustin Slowik, Randall Smith, Hunter Coates, James Gray, Austin Mock, John Corson and Brian Green. The new federal drug charges indictments are for Tiffany Shelton, Gregory Shelton, Philip Mark Evers, Devon Paul Faltus, Merryn Marie Mascaro, Ryan Hester, and Brian Baumgardner. No ages were provided with the indictments.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Federal Drug Charges

Former U.S. Attorney Pete Strom’s experience in dealing with government investigations provides the experience that you need when you are faced with an arrest or investigation on federal drug charges. Given that most drug cases involve a search and seizure, we will analyze all of the evidence to determine how to present the most effective defense possible through our familiarity with the Federal Judicial Process and South Carolina’s criminal law. Contact the Strom Law Firm today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800

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