BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, SC — Another man guilty of participating in a crack and cocaine distribution ring in Lexington County has been sentenced to a federal prison sentence.
Eric Frederick Williams, 28, of Batesburg-Leesville, was sentenced in Columbia for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of crack. US District Judge Joseph Anderson sentenced Williams to 15 years and 8 months in prison followed by 10 years of probation and a $100 special assessment.
Williams had pleaded guilty prior to the sentencing. At the plea hearing, the US Attorneys Office laid out its case that Antonio Dupree Williams led a large drug ring in the Batesburg-Leesville area of which Eric Williams was a part.
Prosecutors accused Antonio Williams of receiving cocaine, usually 1 to 5 kilograms at a time, from Hispanic distributors, which was delivered to various members of the ring. Some of the cocaine was turned into crack and the drugs were then sold to users.
An Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives informant made purchases from Williams as part of the investigation. Those purchases were then followed up by FBI wiretaps, which led investigators to other members of the ring.
Sentenced so far in the case:
• Antonio Dupree Williams, of Batesburg-Leesville, and the leader of the organization, who was sentenced to 292 months (24.5 years) on the drug conspiracy, 180 months (15 years) for being a felon in possession of a firearm and 240 months (20 years) on money laundering charges followed by 10 years of supervised release;
• Charles Gantt, of Batesburg-Leesville, who was sentenced to 235 months (19.6 years) incarceration followed by 10 years of supervised release;
• James Lewis Williams, of Batesburg-Leesville, who was sentenced to life imprisonment;
• Lindsay Tyrone Leaphart, of Batesburg-Leesville, who was sentenced to 120 months (10 years) incarceration followed by 5 years of supervised release;
• Walter Leon Williams, of Batesburg-Leesville, who was sentenced to 135 months (11.25 years) incarceration followed by 6 years of supervised release; and
• Joseph Junior Nelson, of Gilbert, who was sentenced to 121 months (10 years and 1 month) incarceration followed by 10 years of supervised release.
Three other men have yet to be sentenced. They are Anthony Walker Alphonso Thompson, William Jacoby Holloway and Darrell T. Washington. Thompson and Holloway pled guilty to the conspiracy charge. Washington was convicted in a trial this summer.
In addition to the FBI and ATF, the case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, the Batesburg-Leesville Police Department and the Newberry Police Department.