BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Twenty-seven people have been arrested in Berkeley County after a two-year multi-agency investigation of drug and weapon activity in and around Goose Creek.
Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis announced the arrests Friday, saying they had come in a sweep Wednesday and Thursday, following years of investigations and undercover operations.
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and Homeland Security spearheaded the investigation.
"I told the people we were going to do something down there, and it's been two years, but it's paid off," Lewis said. "We needed to get them off the street. I know the folks in Goose Creek have been watching and waiting, and now the fruits of our effort are here."
Sheriff Lewis said he reached out to federal agencies for help after people in Berkeley County pleaded with him upon taking office to do something about drugs and violence near the Rutt Lane, Howe Hall Road and Old Back River Road areas.
Lewis said his deputies have been dispatched to those areas countless times, including to a number of shootings in which neither the victims nor the witnesses would cooperate.
It was a dangerous area not only for people living nearby, but deputies as well. Lewis said deputies were always dispatched with backup to calls in those areas because of the level of violence.
In April 2016, a man even threw a "Molotov cocktail" fire bomb at Berkeley County deputies investigating drug activity on Rutt Lane.
"People in Goose Creek and those subdivisions surrounding that area have been prone to hearing gunshots, seeing these types of situations occurring out there, and I'm just glad they've been patient with us," Lewis said. "Hopefully, now, they're going to see a difference."
Lewis said agents built a case against the people arrested through undercover drug and weapons buys, as well as tips from informants.
Lewis said one of the reasons he reached out to federal agencies was in hopes of getting longer prison sentences for the people arrested, who Lewis believes were all connected.
"I would say they're loosely organized," Lewis said of the suspects. " I don't know that there was a pact between any of them, but they were all drug dealers. I guess they're related in some way or another."
Details about all the suspects arrested can be found at the bottom of this page. Authorities say they are still searching for one suspect, Rico Reid, who is wanted for drug charges related to heroin possession and distribution, as well as weapons charges.
"Let this be a warning to the others that are out there: this is just the beginning," Lewis said. "We will not stop. I pledge to the people of this county that drugs and weapons -- we are going to go after the people involved in those illegal crimes. We're coming after you. So the next time you're selling drugs, or trying to sell weapons in Berkeley County, look over your shoulder, because we just might be there."
U.S. Marshals, SLED, S.C. Highway Patrol, Goose Creek Police, Hanahan Police and Moncks Corner Police also assisted with the investigation.
Sheriff Lewis also wished to thank the public for their assistance to investigators.
Below is a list of everyone arrested, along with their charges.
- Terry Hicks – Simple Possession of Marijuana
- Aaron Stewart – Fail to Pay Support
- Brandon Myers - Dist. Cocaine ½ Mile of School & GS Bench Warrant
- Wesley Xavier Howell – Simple Possession of Marijuana
- John Edward Micko - Simple Possession of Marijuana
- Kaila Renea Sommer - B/W for Possession of Marijuana
- Matthew Canterbury - Open Container
- DeAndre Marcus Baylock - Possession With Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base, Poss. Of Weapon by Convicted Person
- Eric Richardson - Possession With Intent to Distribute Meth.
- Larry Donell William - Dist. Cocaine Base
- Joe Travis - Family Court B/W
- Santerio Bernard Smith - GS Bench Warrant X5
- DaVone Anthony Lee Anderson - Bench Warrant (Disorderly Conduct)
- Kevin Lemon McGee, Jr. - Simple Possession of Marijuana & Possession of Schedule 2 Narcotic
- Michael Dean Jones, Jr. - Domestic Violence 2nd
- Isiah Stroud - Domestic Violence 3rd (Hanahan PD Case)
- Joshua Christopher McDonald - Hold for Drug Charge & 3 B/W
- Vanessa Mashburn – Simple Possession of Marijuana
- Christopher Marchant - Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana
- Robert Larsen - Malicious Injury to Courthouse/County Jail Property
- Mary Castelan - B/W (Noise Ordinance)
- Quenten Jrell Barr - Simple Possession of Marijuana
- Christopher Thomas Keane - False Information to LE & Hold DCSO
- Alex James Charon - Possession of Meth.
- Denise Armenia Ballard - Hold for Missouri
- Jamal Demetric Ladream Pringle - DUS & Bench Warrants x3
- Jeremy Griffith - Simple Possession of Marijuana (no photo available)