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Authorities bust drug ring run by Charleston college students

June 27, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Authorities bust drug ring run by Charleston college students

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Authorities busted nine current and former college students for their role in a violent drug network operating out of Charleston, South Carolina.

The announcement was made in recent weeks by Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, which included the seizures of a litany of drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, Xanax, marijuana, synthetic marijuana, cash, and weapons.

The bust stems from a six-month investigation by the Charleston Police Dept. assisted by state and federal law enforcement agencies that involved a raid on a Victorian-era home back in November and was expanded after the drug-related murder of a 23-year-old man back in March.

Mullen said the nine people, whose ages range from 19 to 26-years-old, mostly white former and current college students from privileged backgrounds, now face 29 counts including charges of drug trafficking, manufacturing, possession and weapons violations.

An investigative report published on Friday by local newspaper The Post & Courier entitled “Cocaine, pills … and textbooks” detailed how police investigators suspected that a group of young people fueled hundreds of thousands worth in drug sales within Charleston’s college party scene.

The report revealed how fraternity members, among those charged, includes the former president of the school’s Kappa Alpha Order fraternity, were key players in the illicit drug operation, which included enlisting pledges as drug runners and having safety protocols in place to circumvent drug raids by law enforcement.

Furthermore, the co-conspirators purchased significant amounts of cocaine from suppliers in Georgia and had marijuana shipped by mail from legalized states such as Colorado to supply a demand from a consumer base among the thousands of students and other young people who pack downtown’s Historic District.

According to the local publication, the operation imported Chinese chemicals from shady online suppliers and established networks of current and former students in the manufacturing of thousands of pills with a factory-grade press.

He further stated how the case provided insight into how the illicit drug trade operates in Charleston.

“The lucrative narcotics business is alive and well, and we certainly want to continue all of our efforts to make sure that we take as much of this off the street as possible because we know it’s destroying many people’s lives,” Mullen said at a news conference on June 8th.

According to WCSC-TV, authorities confiscated $214,000 in cash, four vehicles, and multiple firearms including seven guns and rifles.

Additionally, Police secured over 43,000 Xanax and synthetic marijuana pills, 560 grams of synthetic marijuana powder, 130 grams of Ecstasy powder, 235 grams of Xanax powder, five pounds of marijuana and even more pounds of cocaine in the massive bust.

As the drug network grew, so did the potential for violence. On March 4th, Charles Edward Mungin III, 21, fatally shot Patrick Moffly, the son of a former Charleston County school board member who had ties with members of the narcotics network following a drug deal that went bad, police said.

Although authorities charged Mungin two weeks later, officials said that police are still searching for two other suspects who were seen fleeing the Charleston home where Moffly’s body was discovered with a single gunshot wound to his chest surrounded by hundreds of Xanax pills, the Post Courier reported.

Mullen said he believed members of the network were not aware “of the dangers and complexity of what they were involved in,” and had more interest in the money and status accompanied with the illicit drug trade.

“They want to be drug dealers, but then they begin to realize that the real dealers aren’t such nice people,” Mullen told the Post Courier.

The drug ring first popped up on law enforcement’s radar after an informant tipped off investigators about someone selling drugs out of a Charleston home.

Members of Charleston’s Special Investigations Division executed a search warrant in October just days after an informant bought Ecstasy at the home.

Police said investigators uncovered $7 thousand worth of Xanax pills worth, $7 thousand worth of marijuana packaged in baggies, and cocaine concealed in the fake bottom of an ice tea can.

Over the next few months, investigators conducted surveillance operations and began working with confidential informants that would eventually lead to June’s arrests.

“That’s where it all started,” Mullen said. “These weren’t people who sold one pill at a time.”

The majority the co-conspirators charged reside in South Carolina, they include: Zackery Kligman, age 24, Robert Liljeberg,age 22, Benjamin Nauss, age 23, Johathan Reams, age 19 ,Daniel Katko, age 25, Christopher Sliker, age 22, Samantha Hincks, 26, Jake Poeschek, 21, along with Michael Schmidt, 21, a resident from from Atlanta, GA.

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