Prosecutors Charge 40 People In Prison Drug Scheme

South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling holds up a cell phone while discussing contraband cell phones outside of Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia, S.C., Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. Stirling and other law enforcement authorities gathered to discuss a federal indictment of 40 alleged members and associates of a South Carolina gang on racketeering charges ranging from drug and firearm charges to those related to a murder, a kidnapping and two drive-by shootings. (AP Photo/Michelle Liu)

Federal prosecutors in South Carolina sounded the alarm on a criminal enterprise inside the state’s prisons.

During a recent press conference, authorities said they indicted 40 people in South Carolina’s largest racketeering conspiracy case in history.

According to the 101-page indictment, multiple prison gang members allegedly ran an organized drug empire that reached outside the prison walls by using contraband cell phones to carry out the illicit activity.

Courtesy U..S District Attorney’s Office – District of South Carolina

Investigators said they also discovered 130 firearms linked to crimes carried out by gang members outside the prison. In order to stop the crime, authorities have urged lawmakers to allow phone signal blocks in state prisons.

“This device is the reason why we have all these people standing behind us and we have these crimes being committed,” Bryan Sterling, Director of South Carolina Department of Corrections, stated. “Today we see violence inside the prison and outside the prison.”

Officials estimate gang members were able to traffic roughly $40 million worth of meth, heroin and fentanyl over the course of the last three years.



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