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26 Federally Charged In Major Operation Targeting Violent Crime In Myrtle Beach And Florence

Five defendants still are at large…

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In a massive operation targeting violent crime in the Pee Dee region, a team of 85 officers arrested 18 people for their alleged roles in a major drug trafficking network across Myrtle Beach, Conway, and Florence, according to United States Attorney for South Carolina Peter M. McCoy Jr.

While 18 were arrested, five defendants charged this week remain at large, while three were already in custody for other charges.

The arrests are the first in Operation New Optix — which aims to reduce drug activity and violent crime in Myrtle Beach and the greater Pee Dee region.

McCoy’s office announced that the following defendants charged in the operation were still at large as of Tuesday afternoon:

  • Bradley Adams, 26, of Myrtle Beach, charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Brandon Prawl, 35, of Conway, charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 28 grams or more of cocaine base (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Quentin Smith, 29, of Conway, charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base (5 to 40 years imprisonment). Also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Curtis McArthur, 35, of Longs, charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine (up to 20 years imprisonment).
  • Ernest Smalls Jr, 38, of Little River, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine (up to 20 years imprisonment).

The following defendants are in custody, according to McCoy’s office:

  • Shackeel Coleman, 29, of Myrtle Beach, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine( 10 years to life imprisonment).
  • Kimo Felton, 41, of Conway, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. (10 years to life imprisonment).
  • Harry Bellamy, 41, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 28 grams of cocaine base, and a quantity of marijuana (10 years to life imprisonment).
  • Steven Jeffcoat, 30, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 28 grams of cocaine base (10 years to life imprisonment).
  • Lenard Hemingway, 53, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Yenitza Coleman, 27, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Jasamine Mitchell, 32, of Conway, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine ( 5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Timothy McCray, 31, of Conway, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Henry Boyd, 39, of Conway, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Timothy Lee, 27, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base. (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Jacqueline Strickland, 59, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine ( 5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Venson Strickland, 29, of Myrtle Beach is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • James Graham, 30, of Conway is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a quantity of cocaine (up to 20 years imprisonment).
  • Alonzo Lee Pierce, 37, of Galivants Ferry is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine (5 to 40 years imprisonment).
  • Gary Jackson, 30, of Myrtle Beach, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine (5 to 40 years imprisonment.)

The Florence Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led the investigation, with assistance from Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Myrtle Beach Police Department, Horry County Police Department, North Myrtle Beach Police Department, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit, Conway Police Department and Horry County Sherriff’s Office.

“Citizens in Myrtle Beach, Conway and Florence are safer when violent cocaine traffickers can no longer peddle poison in their communities,” DEA agent Robert J. Murphy said. “While the charges in this case speak for themselves, dangerous drug trafficking organizations using firearms to protect their operations needlessly endanger the public.”

The investigation took several years and “specifically targeted members of this drug trafficking organization based on their interstate importation” of cocaine, crack, and firearms.

Operation New Optix is part of larger investgation called Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF).

“OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States,” the news release said.

McCoy said this morning’s operation went smoothly, thanks to the cooperation of more than 80 officers.

“As this office has made clear time and again, violent criminals will find no
safe harbor in South Carolina,” McCoy said. “These types of operations specifically target entire criminal organizations, which in turn allow us to protect communities in the Pee Dee region and across South Carolina.”

Tuesday’s arrests mark the latest — but not last — operation targeting violent crime in Myrtle Beach.

Stay tuned..

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