Friday, May 4, 2012
The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office took part in Operation Red Harvest, which led to the confiscation of drugs and charges against 34 people in two counties.
The majority of the arrests took place in Horry County but one person was arrested in Georgetown County.
According to Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Cuthbertson, agents searched a home belonging to 62-year-old Daniel T. Richardson at 358 Sunnyside Avenue in Murrells Inlet.
Cuthbertson said 131 plants with a street value of $419,000 and 14 ounces of processed marijuana with a street value of $11,760 — as well as a sum of money — was seized from the residence.
In all, 226 sealed indictments were handed down last week which resulted in a search of more than 100 locations on Monday.
It was the culmination of an investigation that began in December, 2010.
Saundra Rhodes, the interim Horry County Police chief, said the operation was aimed at the production and trafficking of marijuana by local members of the Hell’s Angels organization. Police did not say how much marijuana was seized.
A laundry list of charges have been levied against 48-year-old Ellis Howard Schindler of Myrtle Beach, described by police as the regional president of the Hells Angels.
His charges include criminal conspiracy, third degree assault and battery by a mob, kidnapping, use of threat of physical violence by a criminal gang member, unlawful use of a telephone for obscene calls or threats, manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
Rhodes, at a press conference Monday, said authorities are still looking for 19 people charged in connection with the alleged crimes.
Solicitor Greg Hembree said his office communicated with law enforcement, sometimes daily, about the operation from the beginning.
The 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit is funded by a grant through the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
By Scott Harper