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Suspected drug dealers face federal court judge - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Suspected drug dealers face federal court judge

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Three suspected drug dealers will stay in jail for now. Out of the 15 suspected drug dealers arrested in a North Charleston neighborhood, attorneys say Lavon Frost, Pierre Grant and Raynard Williams are facing the most serious charges. They are all facing federal charges of distributing cocaine base.

The arrests were all part of a six month undercover operation in Charleston Farms Neighborhood, an area once riddled with drugs and prostitution. Several concerned citizens attended the detention hearing for the suspects.

"I said absolutely I will be there. This stuff has got to stop in my neighborhood. I'm a homeowner and I'm a business owner," Wanda Ryan said.

US attorney Bill Nettles says these three suspected drug dealers face the most serious drug charges in the operation.

"One of the components is the amount of weight that they were moving. The federal charges tend to involve those who are moving more weight or have a more serious prior record, or combination of both," Nettles said.

Authorities say Raynard Williams had been charged with crimes and been out on bond four times. The judge told him given his history; he was not a candidate for bond.

The other two suspects told the judge they would waive their detention hearings at this time. But attorneys say they could be brought back up for a bond hearing at a later date.

For now the three will remain behind bars, which residents say is good news.

"Very pleased. Very pleased. Everyone involved has done such a great job, from the police department on up to the US attorney," Dave Crane said.

"It was the most wonderful feeling, and when I watched Channel Five yesterday and heard the story. I called Chief Zumalt's office. I wanted to thank everybody that was involved," Ryan said.

  Nine suspects are still wanted. Police have not released their names. Fifteen total were arrested in the raid. Twelve are facing state charges. Bond was set at nearly $3 million total for all of them.

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