Three Former Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Sentenced to Federal Prison for Their Roles in Narcotics Conspiracies and Visa Fraud
Columbia, S.C (STL.News) Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that three former deputies with the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office – Carolyn Colter Franklin, 64; Allan Hunter, 52; and Nathaniel Miller Shazier, III, 29 – all from Orangeburg County, were sentenced to multi-year sentences in federal prison for using their positions as law enforcement officers to conspire with who they believed to be members of a Mexican drug cartel. In addition, Franklin and Hunter were sentenced on federal charges of conspiring to obtain fraudulent U-visas for non-immigrants in exchange for bribes.
“These sentences highlight that no one is above the law,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DeHart. “Anyone brazen enough to conspire with cartels to commit crimes, especially those placed in public trust, will be met with the full force of the federal government.”
“Those sentenced were trusted by their communities to serve and protect,” said Susan Ferensic, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge. “Instead, while still wearing a badge, they decided to work on behalf of a drug cartel and facilitate the distribution of illegal drugs. Keeping to the FBI’s mission, we aggressively pursued this investigation bringing together dedicated Agents and an array of resources to root out corrupt law enforcement officers who dishonor the profession. The FBI is committed to ensuring law enforcement maintains the trust of the public it serves by never ceasing to pursue the corrupt.”
Evidence presented to the Court showed that, during an undercover operation conducted by the FBI between December 2018 and March 2019, Franklin, Hunter, and Shazier agreed to help protect trucks containing what they believed were drug proceeds derived from narcotics distribution by members of a Mexican drug cartel drug ring. The members were actually undercover FBI agents. Additionally, the three agreed to help protect trucks containing kilogram quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine in the future.
Evidence presented in court also showed that, between February 2018 and March 2019, in exchange for bribes, Franklin and Hunter created fraudulent documents for non-immigrants. Specifically, the documents were designed to help the immigrants achieve U non-immigrant status, which, by statute, is reserved for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.
Senior United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. sentenced Franklin to 61 months in federal prison, Hunter to 63 months in federal prison, and Shazier to 46 months in federal prison. Each defendant’s sentence will be followed by 36 months of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Garner and Assistant United States Attorney Brook Andrews prosecuted the case.