By DEUCE NIVEN
Every suspect rounded up in a massive local, state and federal investigation into drug trafficking and related gun violence in Horry County have taken guilty pleas in U.S. District Court, U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced Thursday.
Suspects from Loris, Longs and mostly along the Grand Strand, 33 in all, were indicted last December based on a federal wiretap investigation into the G-Shine/SMG gang.
Already 26 men and women have been sentenced to terms ranging from time served to ten years, a news release said. Others “will likely be sentenced in the coming weeks.”
Lydon said the broad partnership saw significant results, an apparent link with those incarcerated and entering guilty pleas with a noticeable decrease in violent crime.
“When we lock arms with our local, state, and federal agencies to get the most violent offenders off our streets, our communities notice an immediate and sustained positive impact,” Lydon said. “In the first half of 2017, there were 14 homicides in Horry County. After the Operation Rise and Shine takedown, that number dropped to three homicides in the first half of this year.
“Robberies and aggravated assaults have also noticeably declined. This case demonstrates the effectiveness of the Project Safe Neighborhoods model, and we will continue to replicate it across the state as we combat violent crime and the opioid epidemic.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Everett McMillian, in court hearings, presented evidence that showed each defendant as “members and/or associates of a drug trafficking organization known by the name “G-Shine,” formerly known as Gangster Killer Bloods,” the news release said. “G-Shine is a Bloods Gang set that evolved from the United Blood Nation in the late 1990s. G-Shine originated in the New York/New Jersey area and migrated along the east coast and now has sets, or sub-groups, in multiple states including New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
“Shine Money Gang is a sub-set of G-Shine that is based in the Longs, South Carolina, area. G-Shine’s gang members and associates engage in the sale of narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, crack cocaine, and other substances, and use firearms to defend themselves and their criminal enterprise.
“The evidence reflects that multiple overdoses are attributed to the drugs this gang distributed. This group was specifically pursued for federal prosecution because local law enforcement identified it as one of the most problematic gangs in Horry County.”
Local, state and federal agents made controlled purchases of narcotics, conducted undercover surveillance, interviews of confidential sources, and a court-ordered wiretap during the multi-year investigation.
Agencies taking part included Horry County Police Department, Horry County Sheriff’s Office, 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit, Myrtle Beach Police Department, Conway Police Department, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshals Service, and United States Postal Inspection Service. The wiretap investigation was quarterbacked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in concert with the other agencies. Assistant United States Attorneys Everett McMillian and Justin Holloway are prosecuting the case with support from the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Arrests last December involved some 125 agents from 12 different law enforcement agencies from in and around South Carolina. Within weeks several of those charged entered guilty pleas. The last two defendants entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Florence on July 22, just days before they were scheduled for a jury trial.
Cory Antwan Pertell of Loris and five of the seven defendants from Longs have already been sentenced. Not yet sentenced from Longs are Thurston Jay Hardiman and Terrice Bayshawn Livingston.
Look for more on this story in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.
Those who have been sentenced, and their court ordered prison terms, are:
- Cory Antwan Pertell, 60 months
- Christopher Kayvon Giddens, 198 months
- Kennis Lorenzo Willard, 121 months
- Marcus Antonio Hemingway, 36 months
- Wendy Elaine Blue, 30 months
- Blake Lashay Evans, 18 months
- Terrance Damon Richardson, Jr., 12 months
- Christopher Lamont Pino, 120 months
- Ralph Cleodus Willard, Jr., 72 months
- Crystal Nicole Dickey, of Little River, sentenced to 54 months
- Katelyn Anne Stetler, Time Served
- Kalaera Marie Gee, 21 months
- Farentino Santonia Green, 120 months
- Myland Castelle Davis, 30 months
- Trey Levert Cox, 120 months
- Rashea Omar Jenerette, 84 months
- Aaron Delond Stanley, 120 months
- Richard Earl Hemingway, Jr., 108 months
- Shaquille Anthony Gore, 84 months
- Glen Garrick Holley, 60 months
- Dennis Tyron Chestnut, 46 months
- Montea Daryel Myers, 41 months
- Donte Raquan Xavier Livingston, 36 months
- Jada Teal Abril Pyatt, 36 months
- Xavier Jermaine Horne, 30 months
- Eddie Mario Jones, 30 months