14th Circuit Solicitor's Office​

Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties​

Car’s cracked windshield leads to arrest and drug conviction

RIDGELAND, S.C. (May 15, 2024) – A Jasper County dealer discovered with methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop has been convicted after a one-day jury trial at the Jasper County Courthouse.

Derrick Leddisse Tuten, 35, of Ridgeland was found guilty Wednesday of manufacturing methamphetamine. He was sentenced Thursday morning to 10 years in prison.

Derrick Leddisse Tuten

“This defendant dealt drugs and wreaked havoc in both South Carolina and Georgia,” said James Sharpe of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “Our communities are a lot safer now that Mr. Tuten and his drugs are off the streets.”

On June 26, 2020, Hardeeville Police stopped a car with a cracked windshield on Whyte Hardee Boulevard. Inside, officers found a crystalline substance in a black tube tucked in an air vent on the driver’s side of the vehicle. A scale was found in Tuten’s pocket. Testing later confirmed the tube contained 7.05 grams of methamphetamine.

Tuten’s criminal history dates to 2006 and includes drug offenses in both South Carolina and Georgia. In 2018, he was found guilty in South Carolina of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The same year, he was convicted in Georgia for possession of cocaine and sentenced to two months in prison, followed by 10 months of probation.

Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen handed down Thursday’s sentence.

Sharpe is a new attorney, and Tuesday’s conviction was Sharpe’s first jury trial. He primarily prosecutes cases in Jasper County.