You’ll Pay the Price for Drug Trafficking
You’ll pay the price in South Carolina if you traffic in fentanyl. Let the word go forth to drug dealers that S.C. will make you pay — not with a slap on the wrist, but with a lengthy jail sentence.
One of the happiest moms looking on as Gov. Henry McMaster signed the Fentanyl Trafficking legislation Tuesday was Crystal Kraft of Aiken. She lost her only son, Clifton, three years ago when he took a pill laced with fentanyl. He didn’t know it contained fentanyl, but it killed him. The 24-year-old got hooked on opioids starting with pain medicine prescribed by his doctor. He repeatedly sought help to kick the addiction, but the system failed him.
Crystal has used her grief to push for this legislation so other parents wouldn’t lose their children to the drug peddlers of death. She was joined at the signing ceremony by moms and dads from across the state who had suffered the loss of a child due to this illegal drug pouring across our open southern border.
Staggering Death Statistics
In 2012, S.C. recorded 573 overdose deaths. The latest statistics show 2168 overdose deaths annually. And the number is increasing. Fentanyl is involved in two-thirds of all overdose deaths.
Fentanyl is pouring into our state. Just this week in Aiken County, a drug bust yielded 200 grams of fentanyl, enough to kill 100,000 people. In Myrtle Beach, SLED confiscated enough fentanyl to kill South Carolina’s population four times over.
This new law creates the felony offense of trafficking in fentanyl. It also increases penalties for trafficking in fentanyl compared to other drugs and establishes minimum sentences. This bill makes it a felony to possess two grams of fentanyl or a fentanyl-related substance knowingly.
- A first offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, a second offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $7,500 fine, and a third or subsequent offense is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Most importantly, this bill makes it a felony to knowingly sell, manufacture, cultivate, deliver, purchase, or bring into this state more than four grams of any fentanyl or fentanyl-related substance.
- A first offense for trafficking 4-14 grams of fentanyl is punishable by at least seven years and up to 25 years in prison. A second offense is punishable by a MANDATORY term of 25 years. For 14-28 grams, any offense is punishable by a MANDATORY term of 25 years in prison. For 28 grams or more, any offense is punishable by a MANDATORY term of at least 25 years and up to 40 years in prison.
The legislation also creates a felony possession of a firearm or ammunition offense for drug dealers. Offenders convicted of possession with intent to distribute, deliver, manufacture, or traffic a controlled substance will be prohibited from possessing a firearm in S.C. and are subject to up to five years in prison and a $2,000 fine.
What They’re Saying
“This legislation provides our law enforcement and prosecutors with valuable tools to keep these drug dealers behind bars, helping to combat the unprecedented flood of fentanyl crossing the Southern border and entering our communities. Going forward, we must continue to crack down on criminals within South Carolina by strengthening our bond reform bill and enhancing penalties for illegal gun possession, effectively closing the revolving door once and for all.” – Gov. Henry McMaster
“This legislation ensures that the traffickers who are peddling this poison in South Carolina are subject to serious prison sentences, including mandatory minimums. I hope this legislation serves as a deterrent to anyone who seeks to profit from this deadly drug. We must do everything we can to reduce supply and save lives.” – SLED Chief Mark Keel
“We have all seen in the news about fentanyl killing our people, and it was time for us to pass a law to stop fentanyl trafficking. We have crafted a solid, firm bill that has the teeth needed when it comes to taking a bite out of fentanyl traffickers.” – S.C. Rep. Doug Gilliam, the primary sponsor of the legislation.
While I’m proud to be one of the first to cosponsor this legislation, success has many parents. That was never truer than with this bill. It was the moms and dads, like Aiken’s Crystal Kraft, who lost sons and daughters to illegal fentanyl that deserve the most credit for their relentless pursuit of punishing the drug peddlers. Well done, folks.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
During the news conference, reporters asked questions. It didn’t take long before parents chimed in with their questions and suggestions. Gov. McMaster joked that it seemed to resemble a State House hearing. Aiken’s Crystal Kraft was one of those who posed questions and pressed for a better system of treating those who seek rehabilitation to overcome their drug addictions. There’s more work to be done.
Want to Know More?
Do you want to learn more about my positions, bill sponsorships, voting record, and past writings? Here are some handy links:
- About Me: https://taylorschouse.com/about-2/
- My Positions: https://taylorschouse.com/issues/
- Sponsored Bill & Voting Record: http://tiny.cc/b1pouz
- Recent Newsletters: https://taylorschouse.com/category/newsletter/
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