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Grand Jury: Drugs, cell phones, booze smuggled into S.C. prisons hidden with bread, milk

Alan Wilson, SC Attny. General, announces indictments of 17 people in prison smuggling investigation (WACH).png
Alan Wilson, SC Attny. General, announces indictments of 17 people in prison smuggling investigation (WACH)

A South Carolina grand jury has charged 17 people, including corrections officers, in what state officials call a "sophisticated and highly lucrative" prison contraband smuggling conspiracy.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the indictments Friday.

The indictments allege "inmate leaders" are running the criminal enterprises from inside state prisons, hiring prison staff, "friends, wives, girlfriends, relatives, former inmates, and others” to smuggle for them.

Cell phones, illicit drugs, alcoholic beverages and loose cigarette tobacco top the list of items trafficked within state prisons, the indictments say. Those items are smuggled into prisons several ways, per Wilson.

Some contraband is simply being thrown over prison fences onto the property, but investigators also learned the Dept. of Corrections' own food distribution network has been corrupted to serve as a contraband pipeline.

Officials say they discovered contraband trafficked in alongside items from a dairy facility in Sumter County, a Columbia bakery, and with inmates working at the Statehouse.

“The contraband trade in the prisons drives not only a lucrative black market, but also contributes to gang power, gang rivalries, and gang violence among the competing factions within the prison walls," Wilson said.

The indictments collectively contain 106 charges against the 17 defendants.

The suspects and their charges are as follows:

  1. Baraka Nabil Ramos (Sumter, Richland counties)
    Criminal Conspiracy (x2)
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
    Trafficking Marijuana
    Accessory to Furnishing Contraband to a Prisoner (x10)
  2. Anthony Jamur Pyatt (Sumter County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
    Trafficking Marijuana
    Accessory to Furnishing Contraband to a Prisoner (x5)
  3. Nae’Kwon O’Nore Singleton (Sumter, Richland counties)
    Criminal Conspiracy (x2)
    Furnishing Contraband to a Prisoner (x9)
    Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana
  4. Alexander Lamont Riley (Sumter County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Furnishing Contraband to a Prisoner (x4)
  5. Stevenson Lamont Bailey (Sumter County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Furnishing Contraband to a Prisoner (x4)
  6. Linwood Leroy Eason, Jr. (Sumter County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Furnishing Contraband to a Prisoner (x4)
  7. Alexandria L. Blair (Sumter County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
    Trafficking Marijuana
  8. India L. McCall (Sumter County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
    Trafficking Marijuana
  9. Marcus Anthony Deshner
    Criminal Conspiracy
  10. Floria Shaunte Latoria Lee
    Criminal Conspiracy
  11. Travis Mandell Kemp (Richland, Laurens, Greenwood counties)
    Criminal Conspiracy (x2)
    Furnishing Contraband to a Prisoner (x2)
    Trafficking Methamphetamine (x3)
    Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana
    Distribution of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a School
    Trespassing/Loitering on State Correction Properties
    Trafficking Cocaine
    Trafficking Heroin
    Possession with Intent to Distribute Schedule IV Controlled Substance
    Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Violent Crime
    Possession of a Stolen Handgun
    Possession of Cocaine Base
  12. Coley Alonzo Adams (Richland, Greenwood counties)
    Criminal Conspiracy (x2)
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
    Furnishing of Contraband to a Prisoner (x2)
    Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana
    Distribution of Controlled Substance within Proximity of School
    Trespass/Loitering on State Correction Properties
    Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine
    Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin
    Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base (Crack)
    Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Person Convicted of a Violent Offense
    Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun
  13. Keith Everett Brown (Richland County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Furnishing of Contraband to a Prisoner
    Possessing Tools or Weapons for Escape
  14. Vaquita Eiana Sims (Richland County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
  15. Quantis Jamal Pinckney (Richland County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
  16. Kimberly Lancaster (Richland County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
    Furnishing of Contraband to a Prisoner
    Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana
  17. Joshua George John (Laurens County)
    Criminal Conspiracy
    Trafficking Methamphetamine
    Trafficking Cocaine
    Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Violent Crime
    Possession of a Stolen Handgun
    Furnishing of Contraband to a Prisoner

The case was investigated by the South Carolina State Grand Jury, the Attorney General’s office, SLED, the S.C. Dept. of Corrections, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department, and the Eighth Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

The cases will be prosecuted by State Grand Jury Division Chief S. Creighton Waters, Assistant Attorney General David Fernandez, and 5th Circuit Assistant Solicitor John Conrad.