The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday that 34 people, including at least two inmates, have been indicted after an investigation into a meth trafficking operation which operated largely behind prison walls.
At least 19 indictments were handed down by the State Grand Jury between January and May, according to the release. All involved trafficking at least 400 grams of methamphetamines and heroin.
The Attorney General’s Office said the indictments primarily focused on a meth trafficking group led by inmates operating from within state Department of Commerce prisons in Richland and Lee counties. The indictments accuse the inmates of using contraband cell phones and internet-capable smartphones to direct operations with others outside the prison walls.
Among the suspect names announced Tuesday, 44-year-old Robert Gracely and 37-year-old Nicanor Rodriguez are both listed as inmates in the Department of Corrections inmate database. Rodriguez is serving a 35-year sentence at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville for various drug trafficking offenses. Gracely is serving a 24-year sentence on trafficking charges at Broad River Correctional Institute outside Columbia.
The Attorney General’s Office said 5 of the 34 individuals named in the indictments had not been caught as of Tuesday.