Crime & Courts

Alex Murdaugh Co-Defendant Indicted On New Drug, Money Laundering Charges

Also, two Murdaugh co-conspirators face sentencing in Hampton County …

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A defendant with suspected ties to the Lowcountry, South Carolina “Cowboys” gang is facing two new criminal indictments for allegedly distributing narcotics and laundering money.

Spencer Anwan Roberts, 36, of Walterboro, S.C., is scheduled to be sentenced next Monday (February 12, 2024) in Hampton County after previously pleading guilty to the fraudulent collection of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and COVID-related unemployment payments. Roberts has confessed to creating one fictional company (an insurance business) to take advantage of the PPP loans and creating another fictional company (a car wash) to file for unemployment benefits.

Roberts has a criminal record dating back to 2008 – one which features multiple violent offenses including domestic violence and assault as well as several additional cases of fraud. He was arrested on the latest charges on February 7, 2024 and is being held in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

Roberts’ indictments in these previous cases gained significant media attention after prosecutors linked him to the crime and corruptions saga revolving around convicted killer Alex Murdaugh. At Roberts’ bond hearing in August of 2022, chief prosecutor Creighton Waters alluded to Robert’s involvement in “the case of the century” – saying he had been the recipient of checks written by Alex Murdaugh.

Roberts’ attorney at the time, Mark Peper, told me his client had “never met Alex in his life.”

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Peper also disputed the gang allegations, saying his client “swears he’s not and never has been (a member of the Cowboys).”

As for the latest charges against Roberts, one indictment accused him of distributing narcotics – oxycodone – in multiple counties from March 1, 2019, through on or about September 3, 2021. The second indictment charged him with money laundering from August 6, 2020 to May 25, 2021. According to prosecutors, Roberts cashed 32 checks totaling more than $160,000 within that time frame.

“Roberts joined in an ongoing conspiracy to accept, structure, and cash checks in furtherance of unlawful activity to include his distribution of narcotic pills,” according to the indictment.

All of those checks allegedly originated with Murdaugh, who also wrote $90,000 in checks to Jerry Rivers – another alleged gang member who pleaded guilty to obstruction after swiping Roberts’ phone during the execution of a search warrant at a Lowcountry gambling den. Rivers also pleaded guilty to multiple fraudulent schemes including receiving money from state and federal programs established during the COVID crisis.

At his plea hearing in August 2023, Rivers said he began selling oxycodone to Murdaugh during COVID.

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RELATED | THOUGHTS ON ALEX MURDAUGH’S RETRIAL HEARING

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During 2021, Murdaugh also wrote checks in the amount of $1.15 million to Curtis Eddie Smith – another alleged Murdaugh henchman and distant cousin – who has been indicted on four counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery, one count of conspiracy, one count of methamphetamine trafficking, one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and one count of simple possession of marijuana.

All told, that amounts to more than $1.4 million in checks written in 2021 as part of what the state alleges is a money laundering and narcotic distribution scheme.

The big question: Is that scheme tied to a broader narcotics operation potentially involving Murdaugh?

The dates cited in the indictments against Roberts coincide with several key timeline events in Murdaugh’s life. For example, Roberts’ indictment for narcotics distribution included a timeframe concluding on September 3, 2021 – the day before Murdaugh’s infamous roadside shooting incident. The end date provided on Roberts’ money laundering indictment is less than two weeks prior to the graphic murders of Maggie Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh, for which Alex Murdaugh was convicted last March.

FITSNews asked the state attorney general’s office if Roberts’ indictments signaled the conclusion of the investigation into Murdaugh’s drug and check writing activities – and if Murdaugh would be facing further charges in the matter. The office did not immediately respond to those questions.

Both Roberts and Rivers will appear this coming Monday before judge Clifton Newman in Hampton County court for sentencing.

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THE INDICTMENTS …

(S.C. Attorney General’s Office)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Callie Lyons (provided)

Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher and author. Her 2007 book ‘Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal’ was the first to cover forever chemicals and their impact on communities – a story later told in the movie ‘Dark Waters’. Her investigative work has been featured in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world. Lyons also appears in ‘Citizen Sleuth’ – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.

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1 comment

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VERITAS Top fan February 11, 2024 at 11:38 am

Murdaugh was a criminal enterprise operator. His family, his time at PiMPED, and his “friends” became nothing more than props to be used to line his pockets and his ego. We all know that Murdaugh’s criminality is much more extensive than known today, there’s far more money still unaccounted for, and there are more victims, alive and dead. FITS News, keep up the excellent reporting.

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