Officials: 17 charged, guns seized in drug investigation


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WSPA) — Federal authorities announced charges on Tuesday against 17 people accused of being a part of a drug trafficking organization in South Carolina.

The announcement was made after a two-year investigation in the Lexington area resulted in the seizure of approximately 77 pounds (35 kilograms) of meth, 116 guns and various amounts of heroin and fentanyl, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina said in a news release.

Federal authorities said the case identified Alecia Youngblood and Matthew Ward, of Lexington, as “key methamphetamine suppliers” in the area. Prosecutors said Ward, 36, was found to be the leader of the trafficking organization, which is accused of moving drugs across state lines and dealing unlicensed firearms.

Authorities used confidential informants and other means to identify and arrest the other suspects accused of being members of the group.

The following people have been charged:

  • Matthew Ward, 36, of Lexington
  • Alecia Youngblood, 38, of Lexington
  • Cynthia Rooks, 52, of Lexington
  • Rebecca Martinez, 33, of Lexington
  • Richard Ford, 62, of Lexington
  • Amber Hoffman, 26, of Lexington
  • Samuel Judy, 29, of Lexington
  • Brian Bruce, 48, of West Columbia
  • Montana Barefoot, 25, of Lexington
  • John Johnson, 36, of Gaston
  • Benjamin Singleton, 46, of Gaston
  • Kayla Mattoni, 38, of Lexington
  • Clifford Kyzer, 35, of Lexington
  • Kelly Jordan, 34, of Williamston
  • Kelly Still, 43, of Windsor
  • Tiffanie Brooks, 36, of Columbia
  • Robert Figueroa, 43, of West Columbia

It was not clear if Ward and Youngblood had an attorney who could comment.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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