A St. Helena Island man whose life sentence was reduced to 20 years through a presidential order was originally convicted for distributing drugs throughout Beaufort County and in parts of Florida and Texas.
Daniel Holmes was originally sentenced in May 2007 after he was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of crack cocaine. He was sentenced to life in prison with 10 years of supervised release after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to possess to distribute and to distribute 50 grams or more of crack and cocaine.
U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals records reveal that Holmes was involved in a drug distribution conspiracy on St. Helena Island and in other areas of Beaufort County from 1992 to 2002.
Several witnesses testified that they were involved in the distribution with Holmes, with some admitting that they purchased crack from Holmes and “moved drugs” for him, the record of Holmes’ unsuccessful 2010 appeal said.
On Sept. 26, 2000, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office made a controlled purchase of crack from Holmes’ residence on Seaside Road, the appeal said. Several days later, the sheriff’s office executed a search warrant and found an additional 5.94 grams of crack, plastic bags, razor blades, digital scales with cocaine residue, and more than $2,000 in cash.
On June 14, 2001, Holmes was pulled over in a vehicle with three others near Houston, Texas. Though no drugs were found in the vehicle, a gym bag containing $134,500 “packaged like dope money” was found, the appeal records said.
Two years later, on July 11, 2003, while Holmes was incarcerated for state drug convictions, federal law enforcement agents served him with a Texas warrant for money laundering in connection with the 2001 incident, the records said.
Holmes told the agents that “he was a small-time dealer and he dealt basically in Beaufort County to support his family and that he knew that one day he would be getting arrested,” the records said.
Holmes is one of 72 offenders whose sentences were reduced in November.
President Barack Obama has commuted more sentences than any president in the modern era. According to the White House, he has targeted cases where rehabilitated individuals have been kept in prison because of mandatory minimum sentences.