COLUMBIA, SC (March 15, 2018) – A 41-year-old Allendale man has been sentenced by a federal judge for possession with intent to distribute and distribution of crack cocaine, U.S. Attorney Beth Drake announced Thursday.
Ernest “Balla Walla” Roberts received a 15-year sentence.
He was prosecuted by Carra Henderson of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and Assistant U.S. Attorney JD Rowell of the US Attorney’s Office in Columbia.
At trial, they presented audio and video evidence that on February 22, 2016, Roberts traveled to a pawn store in Fairfax, S.C., to meet with an informant working with the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division. After discussing the meet on several recorded phone calls, Roberts sold the informant 26.35 grams of crack cocaine in exchange for $1,300.
Roberts has numerous prior convictions, the most recent of which were for possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and crack cocaine in 2014, possession with intent to distribute marijuana in 2013, and distribution of cocaine in 2006.
This case was investigated by SLED special agents and officers with the Allendale Police Department.
Henderson’s prosecution was part of an ongoing partnership between the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office that began in 2015. The relationship allows the Solicitor’s Office to seek more robust laws, penalties and investigative tools often afforded by federal drug and firearms laws.
Henderson also is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. Since the start of 2017, the team has convicted 48 of the 51 defendants it has prosecuted, including 25 in federal court.