SC prison meth trafficking suspects, many others indicted

COLUMBIA, S.C. (PRESS RELEASE from SC Attorney General’s Office) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that 34 people, including South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) inmates, have been indicted as a result of a State Grand Jury investigation into a statewide methamphetamine trafficking organization that was largely operated from within South Carolina Prisons. Between January and May 2017, a State Grand Jury returned 19 indictments alleging multiple but connected conspiracies each related to trafficking 400 grams or more of methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine, trafficking heroin, firearms related charges, and other crimes.

This State Grand Jury Investigation has primarily focused on a methamphetamine trafficking organization led by SCDC inmates operating from within South Carolina prisons using contraband cellular telephones and smartphones (with internet access) to direct drug deliveries, sales, payments, and other trafficking-related activities of co-conspirators who were operating outside the prison walls.

The individuals charged in the case and brought into custody are:

Robert Anthony Gracely a/k/a “Tony G,” 44, an inmate at Broad River Correctional Institution
Nicanor Perez Rodriguez a/k/a “Nico,” 37, an inmate at Lee Correctional Institution
Enrique Ascencio, 27, Greenville, SC
Lori Renae Banning, 40, Forest City, N.C.
Diego Javier Beltran, 35, Greenville, S.C.
Tiffani Ann Brown, 38, Athens, GA
Stephen Dell Burns, 46, Lyman, S.C.
Leslie Danielle Center, 31, Greer, S.C.
Amanda Marie Collins, 30, Greer, S.C.
Saladeem Ali Crumpler, 36, Effingham, S.C.
John Shannon Dickerson a/k/a “Shady”, 35, Greer, S.C.
Yosif Enibtawi a/k/a “Joseph”, 46, Greer, S.C.
Juan Carlos Rios Espinoza, 23, Doraville, GA
Beauford Brotus Hartin a/k/a “Tadpole”, 54, Marietta, S.C.
Jessica Jackson a/k/a “Jessica Csikari,” 31, Greer, SC
Richard Ryan Jones a/k/a “White”, 40, Gaffney, S.C.
Ronald Elmer Miller a/k/a “Gabby”, 54, Taylors, S.C.
Dwane Andrew Mitchell, 34, Easley, S.C.
Dennis Murguia-Holguin, 20, Tucker, GA
Kayla Shai Nichols, 24, Surfside Beach, S.C.
Salvador Ramirez, 32, Greenville, SC
Randy Stewart Sheppard, Jr. a/k/a “Bofa”, 31, Greenville, S.C.
Bryan Michael Stegall, 34, Murrells Inlet, S.C.
Michael Bobby Stegall, 50, Easley, S.C.
Fred Allen Stewart, 42, Moore, S.C.
Richard Edgar Thompson, 29, Easley, SC
Todd Scott Thorne, 43, Greer, S.C.
Gabrielle Annette Whitmire a/k/a “Gabby”, 35, Easley, S.C.
Wendolyn Faye Whitt, 52, Easley, S.C.

The following individuals have been charged but not yet brought into custody:

Gerri Moranda Blackwell, 34, Gaffney, S.C.
Robert Scott Musser, a/k/a “Joker”, 40, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sam Salvatore Passanisi, Jr., 53, Galt, CA
Michael John Powell a/k/a “Red”, 38, Duncan, S.C.
Traci Duncan Smiley, 46, Monroe, GA

The investigation is still ongoing and is being conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) with assistance and cooperation from the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Detention Center, Greenville Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit, Easley Police Department, Travelers Rest Police Department, Greer Police Department, Welford Police Department, South Carolina Department of Corrections – Office of Inspector General, South Carolina Highway Patrol, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Postal Service, South Carolina National Guard Counter-Drug Unit, Barrow County Sheriff’s Office (Georgia), Walton County Sheriff’s Office (Georgia), and Polk County Sheriff’s Office (North Carolina).

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Joshua R. Underwood and Assistant Attorney General Michael D. Ross.

Attorney General Wilson stressed that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

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