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Feds Charge 17 People In Midlands Drug Bust After 3-Year Undercover Investigation

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Following a 3-year, multi-agency investigation into a Midlands drug trafficking ring, 17 individuals were federally charged this week, U.S. Attorney for South Carolina Peter McCoy announced Tuesday.

Police seized around 35 kilograms of meth, 116 firearms, and other drugs in the multi-agency investigation into a meth distribution ring in the Lexington, South Carolina area, the release from McCoy’s office said.

The following individuals were charged, according to the criminal complaint:

  • Matthew Ward, 36, of Lexington;
  • Alecia Youngblood, 38, of Lexington;
  • Cynthia Rooks, 52, of Lexington;
  • Rebecca Martinez, 33, of Lexington;
  • Richard Ford, 62, of Lexington;
  • Amber Hoffman, 26, of Lexington;
  • Samuel Judy, 29, of Lexington;
  • Brian Bruce, 48, of West Columbia;
  • Montana Barefoot, 25, of Lexington;
  • John Johnson, 36, of Gaston;
  • Benjamin Singleton, 46, of Gaston;
  • Kayla Mattoni, 38, of Lexington;
  • Clifford Kyzer, 35, of Lexington;
  • Kelly Jordan, 34, of Williamston;
  • Kelly Still, 43, of Windsor;
  • Tiffanie Brooks, 36, of Columbia
  • Robert Figueroa, 43, of West Columbia.

Several agencies began investigating meth trafficking and illegal firearm sales in July 2017, the release said.

“According to the criminal complaint, the investigation identified Youngblood, Ward, and others as key methamphetamine suppliers for major distributors in the Lexington area,” the release said.

During the investigation, officers went undercover to make controlled purchases of meth via Facebook messenger.

Criminal Complaint.

They also used confidential informants in the investigation and collected text messages like this one as a part of the investigation:

The ATF, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and South Carolina Department of Corrections investigated the case, according to the release.

Here is the entire unsealed criminal complaint in the case…

DSC-Press-Release-DrugConsp-Holloway

“This operation shows how local and federal agencies can work together to make communities safer,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said in the release. “In operations like these, deputies and agents teamed up to get sources of drugs and weapons off the street. We’re thankful for the relationships we have with our counterparts at the federal level. When we have a united front against crime that really makes a difference in the lives of those we serve.”

The case is being prosecuted as a part of a Project Safe Neighborhoods, which is “the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts,” according to the news release.

“Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Rankin Smith of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit is prosecuting the case, alongside Trial Attorney Lisa Man with the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandi Hinton and Justin Holloway of the Greenville office,” the release said.

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