BEAUFORT, SC (May 18, 2022) – A local drug dealer who was trafficking fentanyl-laced heroin and other narcotics is headed prison for 25 years.
Christopher Ray Smith, 43, of Ridgeland, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of trafficking heroin, trafficking methamphetamine, trafficking cocaine, three counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, two counts of possession within intent to distribute amphetamine, two counts of possession with intent to distribute buprenorphine, and possession with intent to distribute alprazolam.
Smith’s jury trial was to begin Tuesday morning, but he entered a plea to 12 charges, stemming from separate incidents in April 2019, January 2020 and July 2020. Each of Smith’s sentences are to run concurrently. During each incident, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies found Smith with various types of drugs, thousands of dollars in cash and drug paraphernalia.
“This defendant is the root cause of many destroyed lives and addictions,” said Samantha Molina of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “People in our community are committing crimes as a result of their addictions. He is one of those feeding those addictions. The vehicle he was driving was essentially a rolling pharmacy of illicit drugs.”
Smith was nabbed with 16 oxycodone pills, a large amount of cash and a drug ledger on April 11, 2019.
In January 2020, deputies spotted Smith driving on Savannah Highway near Port Royal. They pulled him over because he had an outstanding arrest warrant on possession of a controlled substance. Inside the vehicle, officers found six kinds of drugs, including heroin with fentanyl, a drug often given to the terminally ill for pain relief.
In the car, deputies found nearly $10,000 in cash, two phones, two scales and the following drugs:
- 44 grams of heroin (34 grams contained fentanyl);
- 12.90 grams of cocaine;
- 215 oxycodone pills;
- 29 tablets of buprenorphine;
- 24 tablets and 20 sublingual films of buprenorphine/Naloxone;
- 17 amphetamine pills;
- 15 tables of alprazolam.
In July 2020, deputies were called to a Beaufort hotel, where they found cash and items consistent with the distribution of narcotics. The hotel manager told officers Smith had rented the room for quite a while and paid each day with cash. Also inside, deputies discovered more than 12 grams of methamphetamine, 66.23 grams of fentanyl-laced heroin, 109 pills of amphetamine, 30 pouches of buprenorphine with Naloxone and six pills and 39 pills of oxycodone.
Smith’s criminal record dates to 2001 and includes convictions for shoplifting, open container, failure to stop for a blue light, burglary, grand larceny, possession of a pistol by a prohibited person, driving under suspension and driving under the influence.
Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen issued Wednesday’s sentence.
Assistant Solicitor Jared Shedd assisted with the prosecution. Shedd and Molina are members of the community prosecution team and have been with the Solicitor’s Office since 2019.