Jury Convicts Drug Dealers Involved in Florence
High Speed Chase
SEP 29 -- COLUMBIA, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney W. Walter Wilkins stated today that a federal jury convicted HUMROY BENNETT, age 21, of Fayetteville, North Carolina and RAYAN COLEMAN, age 20, of New York, of drug conspiracy charges after a three-day trial.
Evidence in the case established that on March 24, 2009, a Darlington County Sheriff’s deputy, working with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office as part of Operation Strike Force, stopped a car for traffic violations on I-95. The car was driven by BENNETT; COLEMAN and Bernard Simpson, age 27, also of New York, were passengers in the car. When BENNETT stepped out of the car at the officer’s request, Simpson jumped into the driver’s seat and fled with COLEMAN. Simpson sped down I-95, Highway 76 and through the streets of Florence, eventually crashing the car into playground equipment at Delmae Elementary School, where he and COLEMAN fled on foot. Officers found two kilos of cocaine wrapped in Christmas paper near the wrecked car. COLEMAN was arrested within 30 minutes, and Simpson was arrested two days later walking down Highway 52 in Florence.
On September 8, 2009, Simpson pled guilty to the federal charges. During the trial of his co-defendants, Simpson claimed responsibility for the cocaine, and testified that BENNETT and COLEMAN knew nothing. Assistant United States Attorney Buddy Bethea offered testimony refuting Simpson’s claims and linking BENNETT and COLEMAN to the drugs.
The case was investigated by the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, the Florence Police Department, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Assistant United States Attorney Buddy Bethea, of the Florence 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.