Final Detention Hearings Held for Nine Defendants Indicted on Heroin Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 03, 2011|
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that nine defendants named in a sealed indictment alleging a conspiracy involving more than a kilogram of heroin have been detained pending trial. On Friday, June 3, 2011 the Honorable Bruce Howe Hendricks conducted the last detention hearing. The Honorable Bristow Marchant had previously determined that the other eight defendants should remain in custody pending trial. In making its decision to detain the defendants, the court relied on the details of the conspiracy brought out at the detention hearing, including the seizure of approximately 10,000 bags of “SWAT” brand heroin from a secret compartment of a Infiniti SUV on May 15, 2011 just outside of Charleston.
United States Attorney Nettles noted that the indictment is the result of the work of an ad hoc task force created to address violent street gang drug crime in the City of Charleston. He said that the United States Attorney’s Office and the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office joined forces with the City of Charleston Police Department and federal law enforcement agencies, noting that the investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. An Assistant Solicitor for the Ninth Judicial Circuit has been designated by the United States Department of Justice as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in order to be able to work with Nettles’ Violent Crime Task Force.
Nettles commended the efforts of these law enforcement agencies which have been working the investigation. “I always say that teamwork always works. Always. When we all work together, citizens get the best result. Speaking in general and not about this specific case, violent drug crime is a key issue we are attempting to address. Communities have been devastated by this type of criminal activity and we can only overcome it by joining forces.”
Chief Greg Mullen of the City of Charleston Police Department said that the partnership between the federal agencies and local police is effective. “We always look for opportunities to share resources, combine intelligence, and join efforts. We have focused on this type of crime in an effort to protect our community from the violence that comes from drug dealing. We will continue to work together to combat any criminal street gangs operating in our community.”
Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented, “DEA is a strong advocate of joining forces with all of the agencies in any community to investigate drug crimes. This investigation is a classic example. All the agencies joined in this investigation, and we will all continue working together to make Charleston a safer place.”
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said that she learned when she was a federal prosecutor that when law enforcement agencies coordinates their work, the greatest benefit is to the local community. “You get a much bigger bang for your buck when everyone joins together. You avoid duplication of efforts and have a much greater impact on local crime. It is a great deal for the community,” she noted, observing that in a time when the budgets are stretched thin, it is always better to share resources.
Supervisory Special Resident Agent Brian Womble of the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted, “Drug trafficking crime and street gang violence is a major issue in the Charleston community and the FBI is pleased to join forces in this successful joint investigative effort.”
The eight individuals who were indicted were Gary Lamontt Smith, a/k/a Marion Alexander Smith, Jr., a/k/a Jermaine Arcel Turner, a/k/a G,”a/k/a Black; Jermaine Lorenzo Bailey, a/k/a Yellow; Kenneth Lamont Williams, a/k/a Reno; Travis Antwan Wright, a/k/a Malik Johnson, a/k/a Anthony McTerry, a/k/a Traves White, a/k/a Travis White, a/k/a Maurice Gadston, a/k/a Trav; Shawn Demetrius Blount, a/k/a Cut, a/k/a Ray; Ebony Dyshica Roper; Sarah St. John Eddleman; Nikia Renee Noisette, a/k/a Nikia Renee Noiette, a/k/a Kia Noisette, a/k/a Nakia Renee Noisette, a/k/a Big Red Noisette, a/k/a Red; Carlos Lnu; and FNU LNU, a/k/a Lil B.
All of the defendants face severe penalties under federal statutes, which do not allow for parole. Gary Lamontt Smith, Kenneth Lamont Williams, and Travis Antwan Wright each face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole. Jermaine Lorenzo Bailey, Shawn Demetrius Blount, and Nikia Renee Noisette each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole. Ebony Dyshica Roper, Sarah St. John Eddleman, and Bernard Jordan each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole. Additionally, two of the conspirators (Travis Antwan Wright and Shawn Demetrius Blount) are subject to an enhanced sentence increasing their term of imprisonment for 10 years for belonging to a criminal street gang. an enhanced 10-year federal sentence for their alleged membership in a criminal street gang.
Mr. Nettles advised that all of the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. He said that Assistant United States Attorney Sean Kittrell and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Linder of the Charleston office are coordinating the investigation and prosecuting the case.