South Carolina

SC drug trafficking ring leader pleads guilty; brought cocaine into multiple counties, police say

A 31-year-old Ridgeland man who led an organization that brought large volumes of cocaine into South Carolina, and focused on Beaufort and Jasper counties, pleaded guilty to drug charges Friday in federal court in Charleston, according to a 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office news release.

Demetrius Dwayne Swinton, also known as “Million Dolla Meat,” was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel of Charleston accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewing a pre-sentencing report, the release said.

Swinton received multiple kilograms of cocaine at a time from a source in Atlanta and used several people to help him distribute the drug, the release said.

Swinton faces up to life in federal prison. He also forfeited $500,000, two vehicles and several pieces of jewelry, the release said.

During the investigation of the trafficking ring, agents seized more than 47 kilograms of cocaine, 782 grams of crack cocaine, 6 kilograms of marijuana, 97 grams of heroin, 10 firearms, five vehicles, more than $50,000 worth of jewelry, and more than $68,000 cash, the release said.

Swinton was the last of 13 defendants to plead guilty to their involvement in the drug conspiracy.

Previously pleading guilty were Liz Ashante Christopher, Christopher Johnson, Travis Wiggins, Derrick Edwards, Johnita Anderson, David Grober, Boston Brown, Samuel Jones, Ernest Tyrone Fields, Devin Swinton, Ryan Walters, and Terrance Wallace.

The case was investigated by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Charleston Police Department, the Summerville Police Department, the North Charleston Police Department, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the S.C. Highway Patrol, and the S.C. National Guard.

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Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college newspaper.


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