Man found guilty of drug trafficking

  • Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 10:08 p.m.

A federal jury has found a Barnwell man guilty of cocaine trafficking charges that involved a multi-state conspiracy and dozens of kilograms of cocaine.

Terrance Lamar Wiggins, 33, of Barnwell was found guilty on three of four indicted charges related to a conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine as well as firearms charges. He faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and could face up to life, though a sentencing date is still to be set.

When arrested earlier this year, Wiggins was found with cocaine, guns and more than $630,000 in cash. At trial, those firearms, many pictures of his drug den and his secret, hidden compartments and other places he kept his cash were presented to the jury.

According to information presented in Wiggins’ case and that of admitted drug trafficker Rafael Rios-Villanueva, Wiggins was part of a complex, wide-reaching conspiracy. Wiggins’ cocaine came to South Carolina in the hidden compartments of a truck Rios-Villanueva had driven from Houston, Texas. Eight kilograms of the narcotic were driven from Texas on the one trip in which Rios-Villanueva was arrested. These were to be sold at a price of just-under $30,000 apiece. Five of those plastic and duct tape-wrapped kilograms were destined for Wiggins and distribution throughout the CSRA, according to testimony.

When arrested, federal agents found cocaine, money and weapons in hidden compartments in his house, one behind his bath and built into a fireplace. Similar compartments were found in other homes linked to the conspiracy Rios-Villanueva admitted, with guns stored in doors and cocaine similarly hidden.

At trial, it was shown that Wiggins has cash hidden all-over his house, including in his refrigerator, in a diaper pail and in a blue plastic trash can.

Rios-Villanueva, who pleaded guilty to his cocaine trafficking charges, was sentenced to 19 years and eight months in a federal penitentiary. He was found to have trafficked 21 kilograms of cocaine. Rios-Villanueva admitted his guilt but did not meet the requirements of a deal – in that he failed a polygraph test. As the deal, could him have had only serve a few years, was breached, he was still adjudged guilty but had to face a full sentence on all his charges.

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