Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Arrested
Allegedly Conspired to Steal, Sell Drugs from Court Evidence Room
FEB 02 -- Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Kevin F. McDonald and Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division (AFD), stated today that Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Marcus Woodrow Kitchens was arrested this morning in Spartanburg on federal drug conspiracy charges. In a federal Complaint signed yesterday and unsealed today by United States Magistrate Judge Bruce H. Hendricks, Kitchens was charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine between April 2009 and January 2010, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. The Complaint alleges that Kitchens conspired with Terry Glenn Lanford, a Spartanburg County resident.
An affidavit by a DEA Special Agent filed in support of the Complaint stated that Lanford was approached by Kitchens approximately one year ago to find a buyer for drugs taken from the Spartanburg County Courthouse Evidence Room. Lanford agreed, and then sold drugs provided to him by Kitchens to a Florida drug dealer last August. Unbeknownst to Kitchens or Lanford, the Florida man was a confidential source for the DEA. Agents in Florida and South Carolina worked with the Florida source to identify Lanford and ultimately Kitchens as the source of the drugs.
Kitchens and Lanford were arrested this morning after a meeting monitored by law enforcement, during which Lanford provided Kitchens with $3,000.00, for partial overdue payment on the alleged August drug transaction.
Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division (AFD) commented, “The citizens of Spartanburg placed their trust and confidence in Mr. Kitchens to honestly serve as the Clerk of Court. He allegedly abused his position of trust and will now have to face the consequences for his actions. The investigative efforts of this case illustrate the pinnacle of cooperation between our local, state, and federal counterparts.”
Mr. McDonald stated, “Stealing and selling the very drugs that dedicated law enforcement officers had earlier removed from the streets is a very disturbing allegation and a very serious charge. I want to commend the agents of the DEA and their task force officers from SLED and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office for their work on this important investigation.”
The maximum penalty Kitchens and Lanford can receive is a fine of $2,000,000.00 and imprisonment for 20 years.
The case was investigated by agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, SLED, and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Lance Crick and Andy Moorman of the office have been assigned to handle the case.
SAC Benson of the DEA AFD 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, which links directly to the Diversion Control and Prescription Drugs.