The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday that 34 people from across the state and beyond its borders were indicted by a grand jury following an investigation into a meth trafficking operation that mainly operated behind prison walls.
Between January and May, a South Carolina grand jury returned 19 indictments, alleging multiple conspiracies that were each connected with the trafficking of 400 grams or more of methamphetamine, trafficking heroin, as well as gun-related charges, and other crimes, according to a release from the Office of Alan Wilson, S.C. Attorney General.
The grand jury investigation’s main focus was a meth trafficking organization led by South Carolina prison inmates working from behind bars, using contraband cellphones and smart phones with internet access to orchestrate drug deals and the other traffic-related activities of co-conspirators, who were allegedly working with them from outside prison walls, authorities said.
Among those indicted are a Surfside Beach woman and a Murrells Inlet man. A Myrtle Beach man, whose alias is “Joker,” is charged, but not yet in custody, the S.C. AG’s office states. Some indicted also are South Carolina Department of Corrections inmates, officials said.
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The investigation is being conducted by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division with the assistance of multiple statewide agencies and organizations, as well as some in neighboring states. The case is to be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.
Those charged and brought into custody, according to the S. C. AG’S release, are:
Robert Anthony Gracely a/k/a “Tony G,” 44, an inmate at Broad River Correctional Institution; Nicanor Perez Rodriguez a/k/a “Nico,” 37, an inmate at Lee Correctional Institution; Enrique Ascencio, 27, Greenville; Lori Renae Banning, 40, Forest City, N.C.; Diego Javier Beltran, 35, Greenville; Tiffani Ann Brown, 38, Athens, Ga.; Stephen Dell Burns, 46, Lyman; Leslie Danielle Center, 31, Greer; Amanda Marie Collins, 30, Greer; Saladeem Ali Crumpler, 36, Effingham; John Shannon Dickerson a/k/a “Shady”, 35, Greer; Yosif Enibtawi a/k/a “Joseph”, 46, Greer; Juan Carlos Rios Espinoza, 23, Doraville, Ga.; Beauford Brotus Hartin a/k/a “Tadpole”, 54, Marietta, Ga.; Jessica Jackson a/k/a “Jessica Csikari,” 31, Greer; Richard Ryan Jones a/k/a “White”, 40, Gaffney; Ronald Elmer Miller a/k/a “Gabby”, 54, Taylors; Dwane Andrew Mitchell, 34, Easley; Dennis Murguia-Holguin, 20, Tucker, Ga.; Kayla Shai Nichols, 24, Surfside Beach; Salvador Ramirez, 32, Greenville; Randy Stewart Sheppard, Jr. a/k/a “Bofa”, 31, Greenville; Bryan Michael Stegall, 34, Murrells Inlet; Michael Bobby Stegall, 50, Easley; Fred Allen Stewart, 42, Moore; Richard Edgar Thompson, 29, Easley; Todd Scott Thorne, 43, Greer; Gabrielle Annette Whitmire a/k/a “Gabby”, 35, Easley; and Wendolyn Faye Whitt, 52, Easley.
Others charged but not yet brought into custody, according to the AG, are:
Gerri Moranda Blackwell, 34, Gaffney; Robert Scott Musser, a/k/a “Joker”, 40, Myrtle Beach; Sam Salvatore Passanisi, Jr., 53, Galt, Calif.; Michael John Powell a/k/a “Red”, 38, Duncan; and Traci Duncan Smiley, 46, Monroe, Ga.