GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate man was arrested on gun and drug charges after a jury found him guilty of federal offenses.
According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, Larry Anthony Ladson, Sr., 52, of Fountain Inn, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of federal gun and drug offenses.
Ladson was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances including methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana, and possessing firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking crimes.
According to officials, evidence presented to the jury and the court showed that in January 2020, officers with the Fountain Inn Police Department and deputies with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office went to Ladson’s trailer to serve search and arrest warrants in connection with a violent crime.
Upon entering the trailer, officers saw drugs in plain view, and after securing a search warrant, deputies found methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and marijuana, as well as baggies, scales, cash, and other items indicative of drug trafficking.
Deputies also discovered a loaded revolver in Ladson’s bedroom, which had previously been reported stolen.
Ladson was charged by the state, but after being released on bond, law enforcement learned that he went back to selling drugs.
Investigators with the Fountain Inn Police Department, the Greenville County Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted surveillance and observed significant traffic to and from Ladson’s trailer. They also stopped and recovered drugs from several of Ladson’s customers.
On September 9, 2020, law enforcement executed another search warrant at Ladson’s home. Again, they found illegal drugs, cash, baggies, scales, and other tools of the drug trafficking trade. They also discovered a loaded gun hidden under Ladson’s pillow.
After a police K-9 alerted to an area near Ladson’s bedroom closet, investigators found a safe in a hidden compartment that had been cut into the floor. Investigators said the safe contained significant amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as thousands of dollars in cash and additional ammunition.
The jury was presented with exhibits, including drugs, scales, packaging, multiple guns, ammunition, and even a microwave smeared with crack cocaine residue, which was recovered from Ladson’s bathroom.
Jurors were also shown text message conversations with drug customers on Ladson’s cell phone and data from a home security system indicating that his front door was often opened over a hundred times a day during the period when investigators observed drug customers coming to and from his home.
After days of trial, the jury convicted Ladson on all counts.
United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins sentenced Ladson to 204 months in prison, to be followed by a five-year term of court-ordered supervision.