‘High crime areas’ in Darlington County target of police sting

HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – A joint operation amongst Hartsville police, Darlington and Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Offices, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division led to numerous arrests, multiple guns being taken off the streets, and a look into gang recruitment literature.

Lt. Robert Kilgo with Darlington County Sheriff’s Office says the operation was conducted on two nights – Thursday and Saturday – in response to recent shootings. The shootings occurred March 4 and 6. Both incidents were drive-by shootings, and Lt. Kilgo says the two shootings are likely related and may be tied to gang crimes. Law enforcement agencies saturated high-crime areas, conducted surveillance stings, and executed a search warrant on Marlboro Avenue in Hartsville.

Law enforcement agencies saturated high-crime areas, conducted surveillance stings, and executed a search warrant on Marlboro Avenue in Hartsville.

Five guns, including one high-powered rifle, was seized during the two-night operation. In addition, Lt. Kilgo says three people were charged with unlawful carry of a handgun, one charged with felon in possession of a handgun, 13 charged with drug possession, and seven charged with drug distribution. Officers also served three bench warrants and two outstanding warrants.

Lt. Kilgo adds that during the raid and surveillance, agents found gang literature and gang paraphernalia.

The following people have been arrested and charged as a result of the joint operation:

  • Gregory Lamont Benjamin, 31, of Hartsville was released on a $10,000 cash or surety bond for assault and battery first degree and a $300 personal recognizance bond for public disorderly conduct.
  • Larry Lee Blakney, 36, of Hartsville is being held on a $5,000 bond for possession of crack
  • Ryan Deveaurux Pierce, 28, of Hartsville is being held on a family court bench warrant, two counts of distribution of marijuana, two counts distribution of marijuana within proximity of a school and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
  • Fredrick Blue, 30, of Hartsville, was held on a $1,500 bond for unlawful carry of a handgun.
  • William Brigman, 38, of Patrick was held on a $2,500 bond for possession of methamphetamine, personal recognizance bond for driving under suspension.
  • Terence Ford, 41, of Hartsville was released on a $1,500 bond for unlawful carry of a handgun.
  • Luther McCoy Jones, 33, of Hartsville, was released on a personal recognizance bond for the unlawful sale of liquor.
  • Matthew Matron Plight, 23, of Hartsville, was released on a $3,262 bond for two outstanding warrants for shoplifting and one outstanding warrant for possession of stolen goods.
  • Darius Tyquan Reed, 22, of Hartsville, was released on a $20,000 bond for outstanding warrants for domestic violence second degree, petit larceny, and a family court bench warrant.
  • Maralle Tyrese Windham, 26, of Hartsville, was released on a $50,000 bond for driving under suspension, simple possession of marijuana, unlawful carrying of a firearm and violent felon in possession of a firearm.
  • Robert Arnold Jones, 23, of Hartsville, was denied bond on one count of distribution of marijuana second offense, two counts of distribution of schedule two controlled substance, three counts of distribution in proximity of a school and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
  • Alonzo Swinton, 52, of Hartsville, is being held on a $872 bond for public disorderly conduct and simple possession of marijuana.
  • Jesse Washington, 30, of Hartsville, was charged with littering and open container of beer.
  • Ronnie James McDougal, 24, of Hartsville, is held on a bench warrant.

The Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, Hartsville Police Department, Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office and SLED will continue to conduct joint operations. Anyone with information related to the shootings that occurred in early March is asked to immediately contact Darlington County Sheriff’s Investigators at (843) 398-4501 or Crime Stoppers of the Pee Dee at 1-888-CRIME-SC or text tip number 274637 (CRIMES). You do not have to reveal your identity to leave information.