News Release
May 9, 2008
Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell

Federal Grand Jury Convicts Former State Trooper In Drug Trafficking Case

MAY 9 -- (Columbia, SC) - Acting United States Attorney, KEVIN F. MCDONALD stated today that Walter Raleigh JOHNSON, Jr., 41, of Atlanta, Georgia, formerly of Anderson and Adarryus Rasul ELLINGTON, 35, of Anderson, were convicted yesterday after a four day trial in federal court in Spartanburg. JOHNSON was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. ELLINGTON was convicted of conspiring to launder drug money. Yesterday’s verdict came after a lengthy investigation into the cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana trafficking activities of a drug conspiracy headed by Mayo Levord PICKENS, 29, of Anderson, who pled guilty earlier this year to the same offenses. According to McDonald, PICKENS and eleven other upstate men have been convicted of drug and money laundering offenses and are awaiting sentencing. United States District Judge Henry F. Floyd presided over the trial and will impose sentencing after he receives and reviews pre-sentence reports prepared by the United States Probation Office.

JOHNSON faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years and a maximum term of life imprisonment. PICKENS faces a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years and a maximum term of life imprisonment. ELLINGTON faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Mr. McDonald stated that evidence presented at trial established that JOHNSON, a former South Carolina trooper and Marine, supplied and attempted to supply PICKENS and several others with kilogram quantities of cocaine since 1999 and that ELLINGTON conspired with PICKENS to disguise and conceal the proceeds of drug trafficking by conducting financial transactions on his behalf. According to McDonald, the government had no evidence that JOHNSON was involved in drug trafficking while he served as a trooper. During the trial, JOHNSON testified that he was not a drug dealer and that he made a living by brokering automobile sales and real estate transactions in Georgia and South Carolina.

The case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and the Anderson City Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Leesa Washington of the Greenville office prosecuted the case.