Murderer of B-Mob Drug Dealer Sentenced to 33 Years in Federal Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 06, 2013|
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles and 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson stated today that Cephus Mitchell (21 years old, from Charleston, South Carolina), also known as “Lil C” and “C-4,” was sentenced by Senior United States District Court Judge P. Michael Duffy to federal prison for 33 years without parole. Mitchell, along with 27 other defendants, had been named in an 85-count indictment. Assistant United States Attorney Sean Kittrell and Assistant Solicitor Stephan Linder (appointed also as a Special Assistant United States Attorney) noted in various court documents that Mr. Mitchell was a part of a loosely organized violent criminal street gang known as B-Mob, which sold heroin, crack, cocaine, and marijuana out of the Bridgeview Apartment Complex in Charleston. The leader of the organization was Jamar Gathers, who was murdered in an ambush-style killing,
The defendant pled guilty on April 2, 2013, to three charges. One was for his participation in a drug conspiracy. The second was for his use and discharge of a firearm during a drive by shooting on August 14, 2010. The third was for the murder of Mr. Gathers, who was shot to death in the Bridgeview Apartment Complex on August 21, 2010.
The case involved a long-term investigation conducted by an ad hoc task force put together to address violent crime arising out of the sale of drugs in the Bridgeview community. The task force consisted of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office who joined forces with the City of Charleston Police Department; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During the course of the investigation, evidence was obtained using the federal grand jury, undercover work, surveillance, other investigative techniques, and information from various individuals. A shipment of heroin that was being transported by one of the conspirators was intercepted on the highway, and over 10,000 bindles (small bags) of heroin were seized, all with the brand name “SWAT” stamped on them. The investigation showed that the gang in Bridgeview was also the source of supply for heroin being sold in a neighborhood close by by another criminal street gang known as “RSK” (for “Romney Street Killers”). The federal indictment resulted in the arrest of the individuals who were the source of supply for a significant amount of heroin being sold in Charleston, the members of the criminal street gang (“B-Mob”) operating in Bridgeview and members of the RSK street gang.
Mr. Mitchell was one of four individuals charged with the murder of Jamar Gathers. Shakeneth Deveaux, Demetrius Shawn Blount, and Vashty West, all of whom worked in Mr. Gathers crew, were also charged. Information presented in court established that Mr. Gathers was intending to cut Mr. Blount and the others out of his network because money and drugs were missing. In response, the defendants got together and plotted his death. Assistant United States Attorney Sean Kittrell said during the sentencing proceeding that the apartment that was used as a stash house held at least a kilo of cocaine and a large amount of cash. He stated that Mr. Mitchell and the others plotted to kill Mr. Gathers to steal the drugs and money. When Mr. Gathers came over to Bridgeview to collect the cocaine and cash, he was met by Mr. Mitchell and Ms. West. As Mr. Gathers turned to go upstairs, he was shot in the back of his head. Kittrell informed the court that while agents were not sure who actually pulled the trigger, evidence showed that both Mr. Mitchell and Ms. West were present at the time of the shooting. Kittrell told the court that Mr. Mitchell talked to an associate after the murder and said that he (Mitchell) asked Mr. Gathers for a cigarette, and after Mr. Gathers gave him the cigarette and turned around, Mr. Mitchell shot him in the back of the head. Kittrell said that Mr. Mitchell told his co-defendant that Mr. Gathers shoulders lurched forward and his “soul jumped out of his body." According to Kittrell, Mr. Mitchell said that he immediately gave the gun to Ms. West, who hid it in the apartment. Kittrell stated that Ms. West denied that she shot Mr. Gathers but noted that she failed to pass a polygraph test.
After the murder, Mr. Mitchell and another defendant took a kilogram of cocaine. He, along with Mr. Blount and Mr. Deveaux, were arrested within days in an apartment in North Charleston after police investigated a complaint about the smell of marijuana. They were found to possess marijuana, as well as $10,000 in cash and a firearm. Kittrell said that the cash came from the Gucci bag used by Mr. Gathers to hold profits from drug sales.
Ms. West was sentenced by Judge Duffy on July 8, 2013, to federal prison for 29 years.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson (9th Judicial Circuit) stated, "Once again, this shows the power of cooperation between state and federal agencies. This intense and complex joint investigation achieved fantastic results for a community which has been whipsawed by violence. By using federal tools and long term operations, we were able to indict a significant number of people and disrupt a violent criminal group."
Police Chief Gregory Mullen (CPD) said, "Our department focuses on working to establish strong community relationships in order to reduce crime. This investigation is a prime example of how sharing resources and information helps to achieve those goals. Our officers worked with the federal agencies to do a long term operations (including undercover work) and intelligence led policing. With these and other tools we were able to indict and put in federal prison the individuals responsible for Jamar Gathers' death, other street gang members and to also disrupt a heroin network."
Resident Agent in Charge Timothy R. Davis (DEA) stated, "DEA is proud to serve with our law enforcement partners in disrupting this interstate heroin trafficking network. We commend all of the people who worked diligently to bring this gang to justice and to protect our community from the harm they caused."
Special Agent in Charge Wayne L. Dixie, Jr. (ATF) commented, "ATF is dedicated to working with local agencies to attack gun violence on the streets. This sentence is a great result, and we hope it will send a message to others that drugs and firearms and gun violence do not mix and will result in severe consequences."
Supervisory Special Resident Agent Brian Womble (FBI) said, "The FBI always stands ready to work with others in Charleston, especially in the important effort to combat drug trafficking crime and street gang violence."
United States Attorney Nettles noted that the investigation was part of a larger effort, which had resulted in the federal prosecution of three criminal street gangs over a period of time Nettles commended the efforts of the law enforcement agencies who joined forces. “The long hours and hard work of the law enforcement officers working the streets and the prosecutors in getting the case before the court have made a difference in the Bridgeview community. Kids can play in their yards and on the sidewalks now,” he stated. He said that Assistant United States Attorney Sean Kittrell and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Linder of the Charleston office coordinated the investigation and prosecution of the case.