An 11th person has pleaded guilty in connection to what authorities described as a top-level drug ring with Greenwood ties that bought fentanyl and other drugs from Mexico and operated stash houses in Laurens County.
Eddie Lee “Speedy” Childs Jr., of Simpsonville, pleaded guilty on Jan. 2 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance under a plea agreement that would have federal prosecutors drop three other counts against the 50-year-old man.
Childs, who formerly lived in Greenwood County, acknowledged he faced a prison term of 10 years to life in a plea agreement signed Jan. 2 and posted on Monday to PACER, an online gateway for federal court documents.
Of the 13 people indicted in the case, 11 have pleaded guilty. The other two have maintained their pleas of not guilty and requested a trial, which is currently scheduled for March 16. No one has been sentenced.
In a joint investigation, Greenwood police and State Law Enforcement Division officers bought more than 300 fentanyl pills across five controlled purchases.
Investigating the source for those pills led to what U.S. Drug Enforcement agents thought was a “drug trafficking organization.”
“Based on law enforcement sources of information, confidential source information, undercover law enforcement operations and an ongoing financial investigation, local law enforcement identified” four Greenwood-connected people “as distributors of significant quantities of cocaine and heroin and fentanyl,” prosecutors wrote in a motion for pretrial detention order.
Greenwood police said once they understood the scope of the operation, they referred the case to the DEA.
Court documents detail investigators tapping phones, planting a surveillance camera and undercover agents posing as representatives of a Mexican drug cartel while gathering the evidence used to indict 11 people in February, with two additional people being charged through a 46-count superseding indictment handed up in June.
Prosecutors say agents seized more than 20 kilograms of heroin during the investigation, which included raiding two suspected stash houses in Laurens County, and court documents indicate authorities are seeking more than $3 million through forfeiture.