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Charleston, South Carolina — United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr., announced today that Gordon William Brock, III, 49, of Mount Pleasant, and Carlos Ravenel, 37, of North Charleston, were sentenced to 20 years each after pleading guilty to distribution of heroin and fentanyl causing death and serious bodily injury.

Evidence presented to the court showed that on November 20, 2018, Brock distributed heroin and fentanyl to the victim in the Snee Farm area. The victim and a friend shared the drugs, which ultimately hospitalized the friend and killed the victim.

“Pushing drugs that seriously harm others is reprehensible, and this office will continue to deal swiftly and severely with these criminals,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “I particularly appreciate the work of our federal, state, and local partners. Together, we are doing everything in our power to disrupt and dismantle the flow of deadly opioids into South Carolina.”

“In this case, the death of one victim and the hospitalization of another, strikes at the core of this country’s opioid epidemic,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Field Division. “DEA’s commitment to combat the opioid epidemic is unwavering and the defendants in this case will spend well-deserved time in prison.”

“The North Charleston Police Department is committed to confronting the opioid crisis through prevention, education, intervention, and enforcement,” said Scott Deckard, Deputy Chief of the North Charleston Police Department. “The successful prosecution and sentence in this opioid death case is a result of the inter-agency cooperation necessary to hold the individuals, who are dealing in illegal drugs, responsible for their actions.”

Text messages showed that Brock had used the drugs himself prior to the sale, and the drugs made him extremely ill. Brock had been enraged that his dealer distributed him “garbage” drugs, and Brock attempted to get his money back from the dealer for the drugs. Brock explained that if he couldn’t get his money back, he would “unload” the bad drugs. Evidence also showed that Brock believed the substance could be fentanyl due to his own prior experience overdosing on fentanyl.

Further investigation, including data recovered from cell phones, revealed that Ravenel – a heroin dealer in North Charleston – had been the source of supply for the fentanyl and heroin mix. Evidence showed that Ravenel had been distributing heroin since at least 2015.

United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced Ravenel and Brock to 240 months in federal prison each, to be followed by a five-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. Judge Gergel also required each defendant to pay restitution to the victim’s family for the victim’s funeral.

The case was investigated by the DEA Task Force, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the North Charleston Police Department, and the Charleston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jamie Lea Schoen of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.

According to the CDC, 67,367 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2018, and opioids were involved in 69.5% of those deaths. Fentanyl can be 50 times more potent than heroin, significantly increasing the risk for overdose, and a person who obtains drugs illegally may not know that a substance contains fentanyl. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance misuse, you can find treatment options in your area at http://www.daodas.sc.gov/treatment/local-providers/.

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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