Federal Jury Convicts Laurens Man as
Part of Large South Carolina Drug Ring
MAR 15 -- Columbia, South Carolina ---- Acting United States Attorney Kevin F. McDonald and Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division (AFD) announced that a jury convicted Terry Demond Cunningham, age 31, of Laurens, South Carolina, late yesterday in federal court in Columbia. Cunningham was convicted of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine. He was also convicted of using a telephone in furtherance of his drug trafficking crimes. United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour presided over the trial and will sentence Cunningham at a later date.
In May of 2007, troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol stopped an individual in Orangeburg and found him to be in possession of over $8,000.00 cash. This stop led to a two-year Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation that resulted in drug trafficking and money laundering prosecutions of over 50 people in the Richland and Orangeburg County areas of South Carolina, as well as prosecutions in Corpus Christi, Texas. Cunningham was the last defendant in the case to stand trial.
Evidence at trial proved that Cunningham was identified as a co-conspirator through intercepted wire taps of cellular phones. The Government presented over 30 recorded conversations that showed that Cunningham was buying large amounts of cocaine from April 2008 until October 2008. Cunningham was personally responsible for more than 15 kilograms of cocaine over the course of the conspiracy, and was converting the cocaine into crack cocaine for resale in the Laurens area of South Carolina.
When Cunningham was arrested in October 2008, he had in his possession more than $33,020.00 cash, and admitted that he had the money to buy more cocaine from his supplier.
Mr. McDonald stated that Cunningham is facing a minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, and a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment.
The case was primarily investigated by a joint Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task force comprised of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE), the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division (IRS-CID), the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Columbia Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys J.D. Rowell and Nathan Williams.
DEA Atlanta’s SAC Benson 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.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.