Woman arrested, charged in SC prison contraband ring
Deputies found large quantity of cellphones, tobacco in various states, knives, marijuana and narcotic drugs
NEWBERRY COUNTY, S.C. — A Pickens woman was arrested in Newberry following a traffic stop which resulted in multiple charges stemming from an alleged prison contraband operation, officials said.
According to the Newberry County Sheriff's Office (NCSO), a deputy working a traffic assignment on I-26 Thursday morning around 1 a.m. observed a vehicle traveling East at 105 mph. The Deputy was able to catch up to the vehicle and effect a traffic stop.
"As the Deputy was approaching the vehicle, he noticed a firearm was being concealed in the dash pocket by one of the four occupants," a NCSO release said. "In addition, the deputy could smell a strong odor believed to be marijuana emitting from the 2005 Ford Focus."
Reports stated once backup arrived, the subjects were asked to step out of the vehicle and the deputies observed one of the suspects armed with a pistol concealed in his waistband.
Further investigation showed that there were several packages in the back seat covered with camouflaged tape, which is consistent to a contraband smuggling operation, officials said.
Deputies found a large quantity of cell phones, tobacco in various states, knives, marijuana, and narcotic drugs. In addition to the drugs and contraband, a drone with spare batteries was in the vehicle equipped with a rope and D ring — all indicators of a prison smuggling operation, according to the NCSO.
The following items found inside the vehicle as the investigation continued: Two ounces of methamphetamine, one pound 23 ounces of marijuana, 10 suboxone film, three pistols, 10 cell phones, $658 in cash, one drone with seven batteries, two Google Chromecasts for tvs, several phone chargers, lighters and loose tobacco.
An investigation conducted by the Sheriff's Office determined that the items were destined for a S.C. Department of Corrections Prison. The drone was equipped to deliver the items of contraband into the secured part of a prison complex, they said.
The Newberry County Sheriff's Office are continuing the investigation with SLED, SC Department of Corrections, and ATF.
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said he is happy to be able to help in stopping illegal and dangerous items into the prison system, however, investigators are very concerned about the pistols involved.
Kristin Nicole Jackson, 24, of Pickens; Marquis Malcom Massey, 20, of Greenville; Krystian McKenzie Cohen, 20, of Roebuck; and Travell Lewis Peterson, 22, of Spartanburg have been arrested and charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine, Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Possession of Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Weapon During a Violent Crime.
In addition, the four are charged with Attempting to Furnish Contraband to Prisoners and Criminal Conspiracy.
Jackson was also charged with Speeding 105/70 mph zone. Further charges may be forthcoming.
As of the writing of this article, all subjects were in detention awaiting bond hearings.
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