Longtime Ridgeland drug dealer and associates sentenced to federal prison
Charleston, SC (July 2, 2019) -- A longtime Ridgeland drug dealer has been sentenced to federal prison, United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced Tuesday.
Demetrius Dwayne Swinton, aka “Million Dolla Meat,” 31, of Ridgeland, was sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel, of Charleston, sentenced Swinton to 22 years in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. Swinton will also forfeit $500,000, two vehicles, and several pieces of jewelry.
Evidence presented in the case showed that Swinton was the leader of a cocaine trafficking organization responsible for bringing large quantities of cocaine into South Carolina, primarily Beaufort and Jasper counties. Swinton received multiple kilograms of cocaine from a supply source in Atlanta, Ga.
Several associates helped to distribute the drugs and collected the profits. Swinton was responsible for moving at least 74 kilograms of cocaine into those communities, and he used violence and intimidation to maintain his status as a main drug supplier to that area. During the investigation, agents seized over 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.
In addition to Swinton, three of his co-defendants have also been sentenced by Judge Gergel:
- Travis Wiggins, aka “Trap”, 28, of Ridgeland, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime;
- Ernest Fields, aka “Fly”, 39, of Hilton Head Island, was sentenced to six years in federal prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine;
- Boston Brown, 32, of Bluffton, was sentenced to five years in federal prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Bianchi of the Charleston Office and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Carra Henderson of the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office prosecuted the case, part of a longstanding partnership to target career criminals in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton and Allendale counties.
The partnership between the Solicitor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office began in 2015 and has resulted in the convictions against 38 defendants. It allows Henderson to prosecute 14th Circuit offenders in federal court, where penalties for gun, drug and organized crime offenses are typically more sever than in state courts. Henderson was the first state-level prosecutor in South Carolina to be fully embedded with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
"The 14th Circuit is safer today because Swinton is in prison," 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said. "It's fortunate that we've had this tremendous partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office in place for a number of years now. It has been invaluable in our efforts to get dangerous people like Swinton off the streets."
Lyndon added: “It is our hope and belief that the significant sentences handed down to Swinton and his associates send a message to those hoping to fill their void and allow these communities, which have been ravaged by drug trafficking and violence, an opportunity to heal. We appreciate the efforts of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in working together to hold these men accountable for such serious crimes.”
Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division stated, "DEA and the entire law enforcement community are committed to making our society safe by removing such criminals from the streets. These notorious drug dealers distributed poison to the community and caused fear through means of violence and intimidation. The success of this investigation was due to the skillful investigative efforts of our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts."
“Identifying and investigating drug trafficking organizations is one of Homeland Security Investigations’ major priorities to protect the public from the serious harm these criminals inflict without any regard for the violence and public health damage they cause,” said John Eisert, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Charlotte. “This case also illustrates the importance of collaborative working relationships between HSI and our federal, state and our local law enforcement partners to keep communities safe, and HSI is appreciative of their cooperation as well as the U.S. Attorney’s office in successfully bringing these individuals to justice.”
The case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Hampton County Sheriff’s Office, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, Hardeeville Police Department, City of Charleston Police Department, Summerville Police Department, North Charleston Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, South Carolina Highway Patrol, 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and South Carolina National Guard.