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Former Navy SEAL and CIA special agent indicted South Carolina federal drug-smuggling case

June 21, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Former Navy SEAL and CIA special agent indicted South Carolina federal drug-smuggling case

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A man, who is reportedly a former U.S. Navy SEAL and CIA special agent, has been arrested in connection with a continuing federal marijuana-smuggling prove with major ties to Columbia.

James Dennis “J.D.” Smith was taken into custody on Saturday in Charlotte. That same day, two Columbia-area siblings, Carl Rye, 41, and Bryon Rye, 43, were arrested, TheState.com reported.

All three have been implicated in the same case. They have been charged with conspiracy to distribute “at least 700 kilos” or more of marijuana since 2014, a charge that carries between 5 and 40 years behind bars.

Some of the weed seized in a storage unit belonging to Carl Rye was legally grown medical marijuana and originated in California. It was labeled “Unlawful to redistribute.”

Carl Rye, 41, rented two storage units for the pot, one unit was at the Riverchase Self Storage (pictured) in Lexington

Smith and the Ryes’ appeared in federal court in Columbia on Monday for an initial arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shiva Hodges. They remain behind bars without bond.

Smith was recognized as a former Navy SEAL and CIA special agent by multiple sources close to the case.

The complaint also stated Smith supplied the brothers with errf. Bryon Rye provided the cash to purchase Smith’s marijuana, and Carl Rye sold the drugs in South Carolina, including to a distributor in Beaufort County.

On multiple occasions, Smith landed his private plane at Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport in Columbia to pick up cash owed to him by the brothers.

THE Former Navy SEAL And CIA Special Agent was charged In federal drug-smuggling case

Smith had purchased the jet under the business name of “The Praetorian” for use in humanitarian missions in Central America.

The arrests culminated from a three-year investigation in which the federal DEA and other law enforcement agencies used airplane documents, safe deposit box records, text records, car tracking devices, video cameras, drug-sniffing dogs, cellphone tracking.

The Ryes were arrested Saturday in connection with a law enforcement bust at a house in the Rosewood section of Columbia.

In that daytime operation, over a dozen heavily armed agents in ten unmarked cars broke a hole in the door of the house.

The Ryes kept the marijuana they obtained from Smith at two storage units Carl Rye rented.

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