Seventeen drug suppliers from the Pee Dee region of the state have pleaded guilty to a wide-ranging drug distribution conspiracy.
The conspiracy involved amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine weighing more than 100 kilograms, said Walter Wilkins, U.S. Attorney for South Carolina.
The group began entering guilty pleas last month. The last plea was entered last week.
Thirteen of the men, all from Darlington and Florence, face mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years imprisonment with a maximum possible penalty of life.
The other four men, from Florence and Hemingway, all face mandatory sentences from 10 years to life.
Evidence in the case consisted of undercover drug buys, seizures of drugs and money, and the testimony of other cooperating federal defendants, including gang members from Florence and Darlington counties who were supplied by the group.
Authorities did not say where the drugs came from or how they was brought into South Carolina.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rose Mary Parham, who is prosecuting the case, said that after the men were arrested, state and federal agencies noted a dramatic decrease in the cocaine supply in Florence and Darlington Counties.
The case was investigated by the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, the Florence Police Department, the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Marshal’s Service.