Thirteen defendants accused of working with a gang to peddle heroin, fentanyl and other drugs and guns along the Grand Strand have pleaded not guilty to federal charges. All but one of the accused will be relying on taxpayers to fund their defense.
Police and federal agents have not said how much money was generated by six members of the Billie East Side Bloods gang – a sect of the United Blood Nation – that prosecutors say worked with others to traffic drugs and weapons and commit robberies to further their illegal enterprise.
A two-year, multi-agency probe into the alleged activity though, revealed the enterprise had been active since at least 2012, according to an indictment partially unsealed last week.
The federal court in Florence appointed 11 private attorneys to represent 11 defendants who were found to be indigent Wednesday. The appointments were made through the federal Criminal Justice Act, which provides limited funding from federal coffers to cover the expenses of attorneys who take on the cases.
Attorneys are paid an hourly rate of $129 in non-capital cases, according to the U.S. Courts website on defender services. Case compensation is capped at $10,000 for felonies, unless approved for higher amounts by a judge.
An assistant federal public defender – also appointed in indigent cases – was assigned to 26-year-old Barbara Lenore Landy, nicknamed “Fizzy” of Little River, who is accused of selling heroin and marijuana as a member of the Billie gang.
Others indicted in the case were: Joshua Lee Randall (also known as “Rude Boy”), 29, of Little River, and Jerrick Larod Thomas (also known as “Juice”), 38, of Charleston, each charged with selling heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and marijuana; Adrian Jerell Lane (nicknamed “Ace”), 25, of Conway, and Sydney Devin McDougall, 23, of Myrtle Beach, each accused of selling heroin and marijuana; Chelsey Nicole Inman, 24, of Little River, accused of selling heroin and fentanyl; Alexis Destinee Kirt, 20, of Longs, charged with selling heroin, cocaine and marijuana; Frank William Truitt (also known as “Fatz”), 25, of Myrtle Beach, Derek Bellamy (also known as “Bloody D”), Timothy Tyreese Singletary, 22, of Olanta, Matthew Devon DeWitt, 27, of Little River, Stacy Juanita Cambas, 30, of Little River and Andrew Perry, each accused of selling heroin.
The indictment states that Landy, Randall, Truitt, Lane, Bellamy and Singletary were members of the Billie gang.
Cambas is the only defendant so far to retain her own counsel.