A Georgia man pleaded guilty to trafficking charges Thursday in federal court in Columbia after he was caught traveling in Sumter with large amounts of cocaine, officials said.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said 39-year-old Bryant Ford, of Mableton, G.A., plead guilty in front of Chief U.S. District Court Judge Terry Wooten to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine.
Nettles said evidence gathered as a part of a several month long investigation revealed that Ford brought more than 40 kilograms of cocaine to South Carolina from September 2014 through June 2015.
The investigation came to a head on June 16 when Ford brought 5 kilograms of cocaine to supply his co-defendant Harold McFadden in exchange for cash, Nettles said. After Ford and McFadden met outside of Augusta, troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, working in cooperation with the FBI and Sumter Police Department, conducted a traffic stop on McFadden near Aiken.
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Nettles said troopers found 5 kilograms of powder cocaine hidden in a secret compartment in the dashboard of McFadden’s van. Atlanta-based FBI agents then served a search warrant on Ford’s home, Nettles said, where they found over $300,000 in cash, cocaine and various other drug paraphernalia and money laundering paraphernalia.