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Published On: Sat, Feb 9th, 2019

Myrtle Beach Man, James Sumter Pleads Guilty to Selling Drugs resulting in Overdose Death

United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that James Latron Sumter, a/k/a “T”, age 35, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has pled guilty in federal court to conspiring to distribute a quantity of cocaine and heroin, the use of which resulted in serious bodily injury or death.  This charge potentially carries a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life in federal prison.

Assistant United States Attorney Everett McMillian presented evidence that reflects Sumter was contacted on December 29, 2017, by co-conspirator Charles Rayford Hunt, Jr., who was seeking to purchase what is commonly called a “speedball”—a potent combination of cocaine and heroin—for $100 for a female acquaintance of Hunt’s.  Hunt met the female while working as an Uber driver and had a short-lived romantic relationship with her for two days prior to this incident.  As reflected in text messages between Hunt and Sumter and statements from witnesses, Hunt drove the female victim to an apartment where Sumter provided the drugs sometime after 9:00 pm.  The victim later used the drugs and immediately thereafter showed signs of an overdose.

Photo/Sammis Reachers

Upon seeing her reaction, Hunt contacted Sumter and returned to pick him up.  Not wanting to take the overdosing victim home to her father with whom she lived, Hunt and Sumter drove around and eventually stopped at Magoo’s Sports & Spirits to play pool sometime after midnight—leaving the overdosing victim passed out in the back seat of the car.   After playing pool, Hunt took Sumter back to the apartment complex and drove around the Myrtle Beach area with the victim still passed out in the back seat of his car.  Eventually, Hunt realized the victim had quit breathing at which time he “panicked” and dumped her body in a wooded area just across the North Carolina border during the early morning hours of December 30.  Hunt then drove back to Myrtle Beach, throwing the victim’s cell phone into the intercostal waterway on the way back.  He took the victim’s purse and belongings to another conspirator, Jose Anthony Ortiz, Jr., who destroyed many of the victim’s personal items in a burn pit at Hunt’s request.

On December 31, Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration learned of the incident.  Working together, the FBI and DEA quickly collaborated with detectives from the Horry County Police Department and Columbus County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina to unravel the scheme.  Hunt was located, promptly confessed his role in the event, and led officials to the victim’s body.  An autopsy and toxicology report later confirmed the victim died as a result of a heroin and cocaine overdose.  Further investigation uncovered that Sumter had conspired with several other individuals in the Myrtle Beach area during 2017 to distribute cocaine and heroin on other occasions.

Hunt and Ortiz were prosecuted for their roles in covering up the overdose.  Both men pled guilty and were sentenced to 21 and 27 months in federal prison, respectively.

This case is part of a concentrated effort to disrupt and dismantle the flow of illegal opioids and other narcotics in the Myrtle Beach area.  By joining with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who deal in illegal narcotics, especially those individuals who distribute opioids that cause serious bodily injury or death to others.

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