Federal agents last week seized nearly $2 million cash and property from a former college baseball player, who pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. Most of the cash that was seized was buried on his family farm.
U.S. District Judge Terry L. Wooten accepted guilty pleas from Bradley Lewis Felder, 27, and Everette “Rhett” Carter Berry, 28, on federal charges including conspiracy to distribute and possess 3,4-Methylenedioxyethylcathinone Hydrochloride (commonly known as “molly”, and 50 kg of marijuana.
Felder lives in Bowman SC and was an outfielder for Clemson in 2012, and also was a player for the Citadel from 2008-12.
The DEA began to investigate the men in 2013 for importing and exporting marijuana and molly in South Carolina, specifically Richland and Lexington counties.
Federal agents learned that Felder was importing the marijuana from CA and the molly from China. Felder rented several homes and apartments in the region to receive the illegal shipments of molly. Felder allegedly paid some of his friends to accept the shipments.
During the federal drug investigation, agents intercepted nine packages of molly, which each contained approximately a kilogram of the drug, and about $150,000 in cash.
Federal agents arrested him at the end of August at the Gates of Williams Brice Apartments near the football stadium for the University of South Carolina. He was carrying $1500 in cash, several phones, a pistol and two watches worth $45,000 each.
The phones included photographs of huge amounts of cash stacked on a kitchen counter. It had been heat sealed in plastic and stacked in bundles.
After he was detained, Felder led federal agents to the location on his family farm where he buried nearly $2 million in cash.
If the men are convicted, they each face 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. According to media reports, the men will both be sentenced at a later date.
Felder originally was out on $100,000 bond until the court found out that he was sending threatening text messages to his co-conspirator.
The Department of Justice reported that the case was investigated by the following agencies: Midlands HIDTA Task Force, comprised of agents from the State Law Enforcement Division, Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office, Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, Columbia Police Department, the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Richland County Sheriff’s Office and Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, and with assistance from the United States Postal Service and Homeland Security Investigations.
About DEA Cash Seizure
The DEA is managed by the Department of Justice, and is the part of the DOJ that deals with the trade of illicit drugs. It is the agency that charges individuals suspected of federal drug crimes. The DEA’s duties include both convicting those found guilty of being involved in the illegal drug trade, and also setting up laws that hopefully will discourage others from getting involved in illegal drug activity.
Cash seizure by the DEA removes some of the financial incentive to those who are thinking about getting involved in drug crimes. Much of the DEA’s activities today revolve around asset forfeiture, which usually involves large amounts of cash as well as other assets that are associated with the illegal sale of drugs. When those items are seized, they automatically become the property of the US government.
The DOJ tries to ensure that criminals who obtain their money and assets through illegal drug activity are not able to retain those assets after they are convicted. This program is called the Asset Forfeiture Program. It is a very important part of DOJ’s and DEA’s efforts to eliminate some of the appeal of breaking federal drug laws.
Because they target the financial infrastructure of criminal drug organizations, the agency often succeeds in destabilizing the national and international drug trade.
According to the US Marshals website, seizing cash from criminals is huge business for the federal government. That site reports that $2.4 billion in assets was seized by US marshals in 2013, and $1.5 billion was distributed to victims of crimes in 2012.
As part of the neverending war against illegal drug sales, the DEA is always working vigilantly under the DOJ to uncover the crimes of those who try to bring drugs and crime onto American streets. This constant effort to find these criminals and to punish them is the regular mission of the DEA.
Asset forfeiture and cash seizure are the main tools that they use to fight drug crimes. Another big benefit to American society of these DEA cash seizures is that the seized goods are sold. The proceeds are them provided to local governments that gave their financial resources to the drug investigation.