A former Spartanburg County magistrate has been sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison for his role in a drug scandal that also involved a former clerk of court.
Authorities said John Truman Poole, Jr. was sentenced on April 19, 2011 on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. He had previously pleaded guilty.
Authorities said John Truman Poole, former court clerk Marcus Kitchens and a third man hatched a plan to take drugs from the Spartanburg County courthouse evidence room to Florida for sale. The third man drove the drugs to Florida in April 2009 and received $3,000, which was divided among the three.
An informant told agents about the sale.
Marcus Kitchens has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison.
February 3, 2010:
Federal prosecutors said that Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Marcus Kitchens and another man have been arrested and charged with federal drug crimes.
Investigators said that Kitchens stole drugs from the Spartanburg County Courthouse’s evidence room. They said that Kitchens then asked Terry Lanford, of Spartanburg County, to find a buyer for the stolen drugs. They said that Lanford found a buyer in Florida and sold him the stolen drugs in August.
Prosecutors said that the buyer in Florida was actually a confidentially informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. They said that authorities in both South Carolina and Florida worked with the informant to identify Lanford and Kitchens as the source of the drugs.
Kitchens and Lanford were arrested on Tuesday morning after law enforcement monitored a meeting between the two, investigators said. They said that during the meeting Landford paid Kitchens $3,000 for partial overdue payment on the August drug deal.
“Stealing and selling the very drugs that dedicated law enforcement officers had earlier removed from the streets is a very disturbing allegation and a very serious charge,” said acting U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald.
“No one is more shocked about this than I am,” said Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright. He said that his agency has a hard stance on drug dealers, no matter who they are.
Both Kitchens and Lanford were charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.
If convicted, both Kitchens and Lanford could receive 20 years in prison and a $2 million fine.
Kitchens submitted his resignation to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Tuesday morning. The governor said he will begin a search for Kitchens’ replacement immediately.
December 20, 2010:
Former Spartanburg County Clerk of Courts Marcus Kitchens was sentenced to nearly six years in prison Monday after admitting to stealing drugs from an evidence locker earlier this year.
Kitchens resigned in February following his arrest after authorities said he made a $3,000 payment to a man he thought would find a buyer for the drugs. He also faces federal charges of stealing the drugs.
The former court clerk was arrested, prosecutors said, after he sold the drugs to a confidential informant in Florida.
Kitchens pleaded guilty in June to charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine and theft from a federally funded organization.
Kitchens attorney said his client plans to ask the judge for sentence reduction soon.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford appointed Hope Blakely as Kitchens replacement in early March.