Florence, South Carolina — United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr., announced today that Darell Levon Curry, a/k/a “Rell,” 31, of Myrtle Beach, was sentenced via videoconference to 12 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, and crack cocaine. Evidence presented to the court at Curry’s guilty plea and sentencing showed that in addition to distributing significant quantities of these drugs in and around Horry County from 2016 through 2019, Curry sold a quantity of fentanyl on May 21, 2019, that led to two overdoses, one of which was fatal.
“As this case shows, those who push drugs that kill others will be dealt with swiftly and severely,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “This case would not be possible without the work of our joint federal, state, and local task force designed to disrupt and dismantle the flow of deadly opioids into the Myrtle Beach area. With these partners, we will continue to aggressively prosecute those who deal in illegal narcotics, especially those who distribute opioids that cause death and serious injury.”
“This case should be taken as a stern warning, both for those who seek to use heroin and those who supply it laced with fentanyl,” said Jody Norris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI. “The work of the FBI and our state and local partners will continue in an effort to find those that peddle in this poison.”
Evidence presented to the court in the case further showed that on May 21, 2019, the victims contacted Curry, who was one of their regular drug dealers, to obtain $20 worth of heroin. Curry fronted them a substance he called “China White,” a term that commonly refers to a light-colored type of heroin, with an understanding they would pay for the drugs later. The victims split the small amount of what was purported to be heroin between them, snorted it, and immediately overdosed. Records reflect that the two victims were located by their teenage children who called 911 and attempted to revive them with CPR until paramedics arrived. The paramedics administered Narcan to both victims. One responded and has since fully recovered, but Samuel Erny, of Horry County, died from his overdose. Toxicology results reflect that the drug ingested by the victims was fentanyl rather than heroin. Curry left the site of the overdose before authorities arrived and was arrested several days later on federal charges.
During the sentencing hearing, the court also heard evidence of the impact the overdose death has had on Erny’s family. Erny’s family described him as a hard-working husband who had struggled with addiction for several years. The court noted the great impact that the opioid crisis has had in South Carolina, and it observed that anyone who sells drugs such as heroin should know that they are selling a potentially deadly substance.
The court also found troubling Curry’s escalating and continuing pattern of criminal activity. His past convictions included carrying weapons on school property in 2004, possession of crack cocaine and resisting arrest in 2009, criminal domestic violence in 2010, possession of crack cocaine and marijuana and resisting arrest in 2010, possession with intent to distribute cocaine in 2013, third degree assault and battery in 2013, possession of cocaine in 2014, and third degree assault and battery in 2016. Records reflect Curry had been sentenced to sanctions ranging from fines and probation to four years in prison for these past convictions.
United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins, Jr. sentenced Curry to 145 months in federal prison, to be followed by a six-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
The investigation was led by Task Force Officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the Horry County Police Department, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit, and the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorney Everett McMillian of the Florence office prosecuted the case.
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.