Five men have been charged in federal court in connection with a drug-trafficking organization that operated in and around Pawley’s Island, a small resort island about 70 miles north of Charleston with a population of just over 100 people.
Three of the men were arrested Feb. 17, according to Derek Shoemake, spokesman for District of South Carolina’s United States Attorney’s Office. Two men remain at large.
These arrests are not connected to another drug-trafficking sting in North Charleston announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Officer earlier this week in which 12 men were indicted, Shoemake said.
South Carolina and the Lowcountry, in particular, have long been connected to the drug trade. In the 1980s more than 100 people were indicted in a massive joint investigation called Operation Jackpot led by then U.S. Attorney Henry McMaster, who is now governor of the state.
More recently, the drug trade has emerged as a hot topic in South Carolina because of Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh‘s extensive ties to an alleged drug smuggler who was arrested in connection with Operation Jackpot.
A Friday morning news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that the five men are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. Additionally, some defendants are charged with specific instances of drug distribution and one of the defendants has been charged with various firearms offenses.
- Andrew Clifford West Jr., a/k/a “Drew,” 36, of Pawley’s Island was charged with conspiring to distribute a quantity of heroin, a quantity of fentanyl and 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine. If convicted, West faces between 5 and 40 years in prison.
- Makeon Jalik Holmes, a/k/a “Keon,” 22, of Pawley’s Island was charged with conspiring to distribute a quantity of heroin and a quantity of fentanyl. If convicted, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison.
- Bradford Dale Rogerson, a/k/a “Furley,” 47, of Pawley’s Island was charged with conspiring to distribute a quantity of heroin and a quantity of cocaine. Rogerson is also charged with illegally possessing firearms and ammunition as an unlawful user of a controlled substance, and with possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. If convicted, Rogerson faces between 5 years and Life Imprisonment.
Two defendants are currently fugitives: Ernest Arthur Bryant III, 35, of Pawleys Island, and David Mike Syndab, 62, of Pawleys Island, according to the news release
“Along with our federal, state, and local partners, we are committed to identifying, arresting, and prosecuting organizations that traffic in dangerous narcotics. It is especially dangerous when these drug trafficking organizations use firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis.
During the investigation into this drug-trafficking organization, agents seized thousands of dollars’ worth of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine and several firearms, the news release said.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office and the Horry County Police Department.
The United States Attorney stated that all charges in this indictment are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.