St. Matthews Pastor Convicted of Money Laundering Conspiracy
JUL 07 -- Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney W. WALTER WILKINS stated today that a federal jury convicted Reverend Leon Devon Dizzley, age 57 of Orangeburg, of conspiracy to launder drug proceeds. United States District Judge Magaret B. Seymour of Columbia presided over the trial and will sentence Dizzley at a later date.
Witnesses testified at Dizzleys’ trial that Reverand Dizzley sold at least 9 luxury cars to his co-defendants, Avery Haigler and Rudolph Zeigler, III, knowing that they were using drug proceeds to purchase them. Reverand Dizzley testified that he is the Pastor of the Church of God in St. Matthews, and also operated Unique Autos, from which he sold the luxury cars. Haigler and Zeigler earlier plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack and powder cocaine. Testimony at trial established that Haigler distributed at least 300 kilograms of powder cocaine to Zeigler and others during the course of the conspiracy. The men used drug money to purchase the luxury cars from Reverand Dizzley which included, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus, and Cadillac models.
Dizzleys case was part of an ongoing multi-jurisdictional Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (O.C.D.E.T.F) investigation that began in the latter part of 2007 into organized drug trafficking in the Richland and Orangeburg County Areas of South Carolina.
Mr. Wilkins stated that Reverend Dizzely is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for this conviction
Reverend Dizzleys’ portion of the case was primarily investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A), the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (I.R.S.-C.I.D.), the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (S.C.D.M.V), and the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office. Other agencies involved in the overall task force investigation include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (A.T.F.E.), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (S.L.E.D.), the South Carolina State Transport Police, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, the City of Columbia Police Department, the City of Sumter Police Department and the University of South Carolina Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney J.D. Rowell of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.
Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.