Andrews man who staged his death convinced in court

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) – An Andrews man who staged his own death to flee from criminal charges, has been convicted in federal court in Columbia for drug, gun, and Coast Guard offenses.

Julius "Butch" Nesbitt was found guilty in Charleston for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, felon in possession of a firearm and causing the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct a search that was not needed.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said evidence presented during the three day jury trial established that beginning in 2007, Nesbitt was illegally purchasing oxycodone pills from individuals with prescriptions for those drugs and then sold them to 10 – 20 customers a day for as much as $50 a pill.

During this period, Nesbitt possessed and sold over 1,000 pills.

On Aug. 2, 2007, members of the Georgetown Organized Crime Bureau executed a search warrant at Nesbitt's residence and found over 100 oxycodone products, five firearms, and a stolen vehicle. Nesbitt was arrested.

Oh Nov. 24, 2007, Nesbitt beached his boat and fled to Terre Haute, Indiana. His girlfriend filed a missing boater report and the Coast Guard launched a two-day search effort. Evidence showed that only a few individuals knew of his plan, with the exception of his family.

Nesbitt had taken steps to prepare for his flight and was arrested in Terre Haute by U.S. Marshalls in Jan. 2008. At that time, he was found with large amounts of counterfeit money, newspaper clippings from South Carolina related to his disappearance, identification cards with his picture but the name of a close friend, and stolen vehicles from South Carolina.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Indiana prosecuted Nesbitt for counterfeiting and he was convicted and received a sentence of a little more than one year in prison.

Nesbitt was then returned to South Carolina. Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Norton will impose sentence.

Nesbitt faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the drug counts, 10 years imprisonment for the gun count, and 5 years for the Coast Guard count.

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