Orangeburg Drug Trafficker Sentenced to Life Without Parole
AUG 24 -- Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles and Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Field Division stated today, that Sigmund James, age 35, of Orangeburg, South Carolina, was sentenced late Thursday afternoon in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina, after being convicted of a total of twenty five felony counts at trial in December of 2009. The lead counts of conviction were Conspiracy to Distribute 5 Kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and Conspiracy to Launder Proceeds of Drug Trafficking in violation 18 U.S.C. §1956(h). At sentencing, the court held James responsible pursuant to the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines Section 2D1.1(d)(1) for the drug-related murder of Vance Davis. United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour of Columbia sentenced James to life without the possibility of parole.
Evidence presented at the trial and the sentencing hearing established that James conspired with several other people in Orangeburg and Columbia to distribute more than 90 kilograms of powder cocaine and more than 400 grams of crack cocaine in Orangeburg from September of 2001 until February of 2009. Evidence at trial also established that James conspired with his girlfriend and family members to launder the proceeds of his drug trafficking business. On Thursday afternoon, Captain Rhonda Bamberg of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office testified about the 2004 shooting death of Vance Davis. Captain Bamberg testified that Davis’ body was found on Bruin Parkway near Roosevelt Gardens apartment complex in Orangeburg around 12:00 midnight on July 14, 2004. Captain Bamberg testified that the victim’s cell phone was recovered at the scene and the cell phone indicated Davis had calls to and from “Sig.” Cell phone records indicated that James was the last person to have contact with the victim Davis around 11:50 pm, approximately 20 minutes before Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at the scene and discovered Davis’ body. Autopsy records indicated that Davis’ had been shot five times, including shots to the head, back, arms and chest. Finally, two cooperating co-defendants who had plead guilty to drug conspiracy charges, testified that James confessed to them several days after the murder that he had shot and killed Davis.
The federal drug case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office. The murder investigation was investigated by the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys J.D. Rowell, Jane B. Taylor and Jay Richardson prosecuted the case.
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.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.