CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The U.S. Attorney's Office says several people from South Carolina, including five from Orangeburg County, were federally indicted in connection to an international cocaine trafficking network that impacted the Lowcountry and the Midlands.
A grand jury charged Michael Clark, Lonnell McFadden, Marion Jerome, Allen Washington and Harold Robinson, all of Holly Hill, with conspiring to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine in South Carolina. Jose Alfredo Sierra-Reynoso of St. Matthews and Adryenne R. Johnson of Lexington were also charged.
A press release by the U.S. Attorney's Office states over 75 law enforcement officers executed arrest warrants and served search warrants in several South Carolina counties on Tuesday with state, federal and Lowcountry agencies, including the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office and Dorchester/Summerville Metro Narcotics Unit, conducting the take down operation.
The indictment alleges the conspiracy began in or around July 2011.
“Today’s operation is a testament to the effectiveness of the OCDETF program in dismantling drug trafficking organizations, from their South Carolina base up to their sources of supply,” said United States Attorney Bill Nettles of the District of South Carolina.
"International and interstate drug dealers should take heed that federal, state, and local law enforcement in South Carolina is well organized, cooperative and effective," said Special Agent in Charge Harry Sommers of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “This investigation is an excellent example of how South Carolina’s law enforcement community bands together to dismantle criminal networks.”
"Dismantling sophisticated transnational criminal organizations takes a lot of teamwork and a lot of effort,” said Special Agent in Charge Brock D. Nicholson, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta. “HSI is a strong supporter of the DEA’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and we are proud to have played a role in this investigation.”
“Criminals think they can avoid the law by running across county or state lines and even national borders. This collaborative effort among law enforcement agencies from every branch of government shows clearly there’s no place to hide for those who would do harm to our citizens.” said Chief Mark Keel of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
“Cooperation and collaboration is the key to good, quality law enforcement and this case is prime example of how many agencies working toward a common goal can have far reaching success. The streets and citizens of Dorchester County are safer as a result of this partnership.” said Sheriff L. C. Knight of the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office.