Columbia, SC (WJBF) – United States Attorney Bill Nettles tells WJBF News Channel 6 that Bryant Christopher Ford of Mableton, Georgia was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of federal law.
Chief United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten, of Columbia, sentenced Ford to 100 months in prison, followed by 3 years supervised release. As part of the sentence, Judge Wooten also ordered that Ford is required to forfeit over $300,00o in cash and other assets he purchased or used during the drug trafficking conspiracy.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that the FBI conducted surveillance on Ford and Harold McFadden from April through June of 2015. On June 16, 2015 Agents followed McFadden to an apartment complex near Augusta, Georgia where McFadden and Ford met out of view of the surveillance agents. Shortly after Ford and McFadden met, McFadden was stopped by Troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol that were working with the FBI. A search of McFadden’s van revealed 5 kilograms of powder cocaine hidden in an aftermarket “trap” compartment behind the dash of the van. Paperwork in the van confirmed that McFadden had purchased the van from Ford several months prior.
On that same day, FBI agents in the Southern District of Georgia received approval to execute a search warrant at Ford’s home in Mableton, Georgia. The search revealed $304,431 in cash (some of which was in heat sealed bags), approximately 28 grams of powder cocaine, an industrial money counting machine, heat sealing equipment, and other paraphernalia associated with drug use and/or trafficking.
Facts presented at Ford’s guilty plea and sentencing demonstrated that Ford supplied McFadden with between 40-50 kilograms of powder cocaine and over 600 kilograms of marijuana during the course of their drug dealing activities. In total, Ford agreed to forfeit the money that was seized at his house ($304,431), two vehicles, and four Rolex watches. He also agreed to pay a $250,000 money judgment.
McFadden was sentenced to 70 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release on January 19, 2016, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Sumter Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney JD Rowell of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.