Operation “Groundhog Day”: State Grand Jury Indicts 39 People Following Investigation of an Alleged Heroin and Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization Operating in the Upstate

(COLUMBIA, SC) –  July 22, 2020 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced today that the South Carolina State Grand Jury has issued indictments of 39 people for their alleged participation in an Upstate drug trafficking conspiracy primarily involving heroin and methamphetamine but also other illegal narcotics. These indictments followed a multi-jurisdictional investigation with cooperation among a number of law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies in the Upstate area. These indictments arose from an investigation known as “Groundhog Day.”

The State Grand Jury returned seven indictments alleging multiple but connected charges and conspiracies relating to trafficking 28 grams or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of methamphetamine. The investigation revealed that this organization allegedly trafficked large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, and other illegal narcotics into the Upstate during the course of its operation, which allegedly began as early as March of 2018.

The Groundhog Day investigation to date has resulted in the seizure of over 54 pounds of methamphetamine, almost 5 pounds of heroin, almost an ounce of fentanyl, as well as cocaine, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, and various prescription pills. Firearms, cash, and vehicles were also recovered by law enforcement.

Attorney General Wilson thanked all the investigative agencies involved for their hard work and cited this case as yet another example of cooperation among various agencies through the mechanism of the State Grand Jury. “The State Grand Jury and the partnership between the Attorney General’s Office and federal, state and local agencies have proven to be effective in addressing multi-county drug trafficking,” Wilson said. “The Attorney General’s Office and all of the agencies involved are committed to fighting the trafficking of drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl to the citizens of our State,” he added.

Unsealed were 7 indictments that total the following charges against the named individuals:

(1) Cristobal Avila
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-38 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-40 years and $200,000
iii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years

(2) Richard James Chastain, Jr. (a/k/a “Jamie”) (a/k/a “Mike Jones”)
a. 2020-GS-47-06 (Pickens County)
i. Distribution of Methamphetamine (2 counts): 0-15 years and/or $25,000
b. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(3) Joseph Kaleb Lee Cheatwood
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Failure to Stop for Blue Light: 90 days-3 years or $500
iii. Driving Under Suspension, Third or Subsequent Offense: 6 months-3 years and $1,000
iv. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 10-28 grams: 3-10 years and $25,000

(4) Jennifer Chasidy Cole
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-40 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000

(5) Roland Van Crocker
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(6) Juan Francisco Esquivel
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2020-GS-47-04 (Spartanburg County)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 28-100 grams: 7-25 years and $50,000
ii. Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl): 0-15 years and/or $0-$25,000
iii. Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana: 0-5 years and/or $0-$5,000
iv. Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance (Naloxone): 0-6 months and/or $0-$1,000
v. Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance (Buprenorphine): 0-6 months and/or $0-$1,000
vi. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime (3 counts): 5 years
vii. Possession of a Stolen Handgun: 0-5 years and/or $0-$2,000

(7) Kristopher Lee Foster
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 100-200 grams: 25 years and $50,000

(8) Robin Brian Frady
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-40 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000

(9) Armando Nicolas Garcia (a/k/a “Mondo”) (a/k/a “Boogie”)
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 200-400 grams: 25 years and $100,000
ii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years
iii. Failure to Stop for Blue Light: 90 days-3 years or $500
iv. Possession of Methamphetamine: 0-3 years and/or $0-$5,000

(10) Marion Douglas Garnett, Jr. (a/k/a “Lil Bro”) (a/k/a “Bro”)
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-38 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Driving Under Suspension: 0-30 days and/or $300
ii. Reckless Driving: 0-30 days or $25-$200
iii. Failure to Stop for Blue Light, Second or Subsequent Offense: 0-5 years
iv. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (2 counts): 25-30 years and $200,000
v. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
vi. Possession with Intent to Distribute a Narcotic Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl) (2 counts): 0-15 years and/or $0-$25,000
vii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years
viii. Possession of a Firearm by Person Convicted of Violent Offense: 0-5 years and/or $0-$2,000
ix. Assault and Battery, 1st degree: 1-10 years

(11) Nicole Allison Garrett (a/k/a “Nikki”)
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 28-100 grams: 7-25 years and $50,000
ii. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 10-28 grams: 3-10 years and $25,000
iii. Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance (3 counts): 0-2 years and/or $0-$5,000
iv. Possession of Schedule IV Controlled Substance: 0-6 months and/or $0-$1,000

(12) William Keith Gary, Jr.
a. 2020-GS-47-04 (Spartanburg County)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 28-100 grams: 7-25 years and $50,000
ii. Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl): 0-15 years and/or $0-$25,000
iii. Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana: 0-5 years and/or $0-$5,000
iv. Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance (Naloxone): 0-6 months and/or $0-$1,000
v. Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance (Buprenorphine): 0-6 months and/or $0-$1,000
vi. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime (3 counts): 5 years
vii. Possession of a Stolen Handgun: 0-5 years and/or $0-$2,000

(13) Serena Leigh Hall
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-40 years and $200,000
ii. Possession of Schedule I Controlled Substance: 0-2 years and/or $0-$5,000

(14) William Dexter Harman
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(15) William Levi Harman
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(16) Brandy Deanne Henderson
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 100-200 grams: 25 years and $50,000
ii. Possession of Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years

(17) Ryanesha Fortaye Hollis
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-38 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
iii. Possession with Intent to Distribute a Narcotic Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl): 0-15 years and/or $0-$25,000
iv. Obstruction of Justice: Court’s discretion

(18) Marcos Enrique Hidalgo Orduna
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-38 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-40 years and $200,000
iii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years

(19) Kristina Johnson (a/k/a “MJ”)
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(20) Tia Celest Martin
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(21) Robin Nicole Page
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana: 0-5 years and/or $0-$5,000
iii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years

(22) Ronnie Dale Pearson (a/k/a “Egg”)
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 28-100 grams: 7-25 years and $50,000

(23) Heather Price
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(24) Ashley Nichole Pulliam
a. 2020-GS-47-04 (Spartanburg County)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 28-100 grams: 7-25 years and $50,000
ii. Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl): 0-15 years and/or $0-$25,000
iii. Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana: 0-5 years and/or $0-$5,000
iv. Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance (Naloxone): 0-6 months and/or $0-$1,000
v. Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance (Buprenorphine): 0-6 months and/or $0-$1,000
vi. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime (3 counts): 5 years
vii. Possession of a Stolen Handgun: 0-5 years and/or $0-$2,000

(25) Andrew Rodriguez
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-38 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years

(26) Heather Rodriguez (a/k/a “Heather Rowe”)
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(27) Keyon Rogers
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(28) Angel Manuel Rosales (a/k/a “Looney”)
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-38 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime (2 counts): 5 years
iii. Trafficking Cocaine, 28-100 grams: 7-25 years and $50,000
iv. Distribution of a Controlled Substance within Proximity of School: 0-10 years and/or $0-$10,000
v. Possession of a Firearm by Person Convicted of Violent Offense: 0-5 years and/or $0-$2,000
vi. Possession of a Stolen Handgun: 0-5 years and/or $0-$2,000
vii. Unlawful Conduct Toward a Child: 0-10 years and/or fine in the discretion of the Court

(29) Kevin Sams
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(30) Charles Dewayne Seagraves
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 200-400 grams: 25 years and $100,000
iii. Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine: 0-15 years and/or $25,000

(31) Matthew Drake Simmons
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 10-28 grams (2 counts): 3-10 years and $25,000
ii. Receiving, Possessing, Concealing, Selling, or Disposing of Stolen Vehicle, Value $2,000 to $10,000: 0-5 years and/or a fine in the court’s discretion
iii. Possession of a Firearm by Person Convicted of Violent Offense: 0-5 years and/or $0-$2,000
iv. Failure to Stop for Blue Light: 90 days-3 years or $500

(32) Jennifer Elizabeth Smith
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000

(33) Jennifer Dianna Sorgee
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-30 (Anderson County)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime (3 counts): 5 years
iii. Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Person Convicted of Violent Felony (3 counts): 0-5 years and/or $0-$2,000

(34) Amanda Lynn Stephens
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Possession of Methamphetamine: 0-3 years and/or $0-$5,000
ii. Obstruction of Justice: Court’s discretion

(35) Colt Matthew Tunstall
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 200-400 grams: 25 years and $100,000
ii. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 28-100 grams: 7-25 years and $50,000
iii. Possession of Schedule IV Controlled Substance: 0-6 months and/or $0-$1,000

(36) Joshua Williamson
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000

(37) Jonathan Blake Willingham
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2020-GS-47-01 (Cherokee County)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
iii. Possession of Marijuana, 2nd offense: 0-1 year and/or $200-$1,000
iv. Possession of a Schedule I-IV Controlled Substance, 2nd offense: 0-1 year and/or $0-$2,000
v. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years
c. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Heroin, 28 grams or more: 25-40 years and $200,000
ii. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000

(38) Patrick Ryan Wooten
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana: 0-5 years and/or $0-$5,000
iii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years

(39) Robert Jackson Wooten
a. 2019-GS-47-42 (Spartanburg County) (Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more (Conspiracy): 25-30 years and $200,000
b. 2019-GS-47-29 (Spartanburg County) (Second Superseding Indictment)
i. Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more: 25-30 years and $200,000
ii. Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana: 0-5 years and/or $0-$5,000
iii. Possession of a Firearm During Commission of or Attempt to Commit a Violent Crime: 5 years

Bond hearings were held on November 4, 2019, and July 15, 2020, before the Honorable DeAndrea Benjamin in Richland County. Bond was denied for Marion Douglas Garnett, Jr. (a/k/a “Lil Bro”; “Bro”) and Jonathan Blake Willingham. The remaining defendants received various surety and personal recognizance bonds.

William Dexter Harman is still a fugitive. Anyone with information as to his whereabouts should contact the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division or Crimestoppers.

This State Grand Jury case was investigated with a partnership of the Attorney General’s State Grand Jury Division, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, the 7th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the South Carolina Department of Corrections, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Marshals Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The cases will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General David Fernandez, Senior Assistant Attorney General Joshua Underwood, Assistant Attorney General John Conrad, and State Grand Jury Division Chief Attorney Creighton Waters.

Attorney General Wilson stressed that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

 

Schedule a Tour or Visit

Welcome to the on-line office for Attorney General Alan Wilson. Please visit the Contact Us page to stay in touch.

image description
Columbia, SC

Rembert Dennis Building | 1000 Assembly Street,

Room 519 | Columbia, S.C. 29201

Phone: 1-803-734-3970 | Fax: (803) 253-6283

Back to top