Investigation leads to contraband arrests

Joshua G. John

Travis Kemp

A drug investigation in Waterloo led to the arrests of two men who are alleged to be part of an illegal operation that sent large amounts of contraband to South Carolina prisons.

Joshua George John, of Greenwood, and Travis Kemp, of Waterloo, were arrested Friday on multiple drug and weapons charges after a traffic stop as part of the investigation by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit. John was released on bond Sunday. Kemp, 36, remained in custody at the Johnson Detention Center as of Tuesday morning.

Both John and Kemp face charges of conspiracy to deliver contraband, trafficking cocaine and meth, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, possession of a stolen handgun and possession of a handgun by a person convicted of a violent crime.

“The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office intends to bring hurt to drug pushers, and any other contraband dealers of any type,” Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said. “This is a great example of dedicated deputies putting dedicated thugs in jail”

According to the LCSO, the contraband seized in the traffic stop was worth an estimated $500,000 inside prison walls.

The long list of seized items included drugs, weapons, cell phones and tools to aid in escapes. Also seized were 80 cigars, 132 lighters and nearly 45 pounds of tobacco.

“The tobacco alone goes for nearly $2,000 a pound inside,” said LCSO Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder.

Here is a complete list of items seized in the arrest:

Marijuana (15.89 ounces), 32 grams of methamphetamine, 17 grams of cocaine, 44.56 pounds of tobacco, one stolen Colt .45-caliber handgun, one Walther P22 .22-caliber handgun, seven packs of Newport cigarettes, 132 lighters, 80 cigars, 53 packages of Cigarellos, 69 packages of rolling paper, 87 smart phones, seven flip-style cell phones, and 19 cell-phone batteries.

Also, 53 USB cables, 72 wall adapters, eight bottles of liquor, one pair of industrial snips, three pair of side cutters, one package of Lenox reciprocating saw blades, 14 hacksaw blades, three knives, one package of white socks, one package of white t-shirts, one pair of Nike Air Force shoes, one tattoo-gun kit and one package of insense with lighting.

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