The local police have been investigating the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas for the past 18 months. The police call the investigation Operation Red Harvest and the core of the investigation is on marijuana cultivation and distribution. Just last week, the police seized guns and computers from 10 properties in connection to the Hells Angels case. The police have reportedly found more than 100 pounds of marijuana at multiple residences as well as huge sums of money amounting in as much as $10,000 dollars.
So far, there have been 226 indictments as well as 29 arrests in the case. The police are still searching for at least five more suspects in the case. This past Tuesday, three more suspects turned themselves in. The individuals arrested and charged in connection with the case face punishment for assault, possession of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana as well as conspiracy to distribute marijuana among other charges. Police arrested Ellis Howard Schindler, who is believed to be the president of the regional chapter for the Hells Angels. He is facing multiple charges including: criminal conspiracy, accessory before the fact to a felony, assault, battery, kidnapping, manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
Many of the Hells Angels gang members are facing felony charges for possession of marijuana. The prosecutor decides whether to issue a misdemeanor or felony charge in large part on the amount of marijuana that is found in the person’s possession. Many of the Hells Angels gang members had substantially more than 28 grams of marijuana in their possession. In South Carolina, possession of more than 28 grams of marijuana or 10 grams of hasish raises an inference of possession with intent to distribute. Possession with intent to distribute is a felony. If a person is facing felony charges for crimes involving marijuana then prison time can reach up to 15 years and fines can reach up to $25,000 dollars. If a person is facing a subsequent or second felony charge for crimes involving marijuana, then prison time can reach 30 years and fines can reach up to $30,000 dollars.
On the other hand, if a person is in possession of 28 grams or less of marijuana or 10 grams or less of hasish then the person will likely only face misdemeanor charges and in turn will serve no more than 30 days in prison and will pay a fine of no more than $200 dollars. However, if a person is facing a subsequent or second charge for possession of marijuana then the penalties will be more severe carrying up to a 1-year prison sentence and/or up to a $1000 dollar fine.
In order to be charged with possession of marijuana, the defendant must have known about the existence of marijuana or the facts must demonstrate that the defendant acted with criminal negligence. For criminal negligence, it need only be shown that the defendant should have known he was in possession of marijuana.
Many of the Hells Angels gang members are facing severe criminal punishment for their involvement with marijuana. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges for crimes involving marijuana, you should contact Daniel Selwa immediately. Prison time and fines are not the only things one has to worry about when confronted with marijuana charges. A person’s license may also be suspended due to marijuana charges. Attorney Daniel Selwa knows and understands other key factors the Court uses in deciding criminal punishment. A call to Daniel Selwa could mean the difference between misdemeanor and felony punishment.