Spartanburg Man Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking Resulting in Death
Columbia, South Carolina —— United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Tory Ray Watkins, age 40, of Spartanburg, was sentenced in federal court in Anderson for distribution of controlled substances. United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain, of Anderson, sentenced Watkins to 210 months in federal prison followed by 6 years supervised release.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing and sentencing hearing established that on September 24, 2016, Spartanburg Police officers were on routine patrol when they observed Tory Watkins driving a white van. Officers confirmed that Watkins had a suspended driver’s license, then initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. Watkins was detained and gave consent to search his person.
Officers found a small plastic baggie in his right change pocket containing a tan substance. This substance was submitted to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab for analysis. This was determined to be .43 grams of fentanyl.
On May 26, 2017, Investigators with the Spartanburg Police Department met with a confidential, reliable, informant, to discuss the purchase of U-47700, also commonly referred to as “pink”, from Watkins.
The informant, acting under the direction of law enforcement, placed a consensual recorded telephone call to Watkins. Watkins instructed the informant during the phone call to meet at a location in Spartanburg. The informant next began travelling to the aforementioned meet location and was contacted by Watkins telephonically who informed the informant that they would need to travel with Watkins to another location in Spartanburg in order to complete the purchase of “pink”. After arrival at the other location, the informant gave Watkins the recorded US currency and Watkins walked to an unknown apartment.
A short while later, Watkins was observed by members of law enforcement walking back to and entering the informant’s vehicle. Watkins provided the informant with the purchased product once inside the vehicle. The informant was next followed to a pre-determined location where they turned over a quantity of substance believed to be U-47700 or “pink” to Spartanburg Police Department. The substance purchased from Watkins was submitted to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) for further testing and chemical analysis. The SCSO lab report indicated that Ketamine, Tramadol, and Fentanyl were all discovered in the substance that Watkins sold to the informant.
On June 29, 2017, investigators with the SCSO met with an informant working at the direction of the SCSO to make a controlled purchase of heroin from a subject known to the informant as “Chewy.” The informant was searched both before and after the controlled purchase with negative results. The informant was equipped with a recording device and provided with US Currency to facilitate the purchase.
The buy took place at a restaurant parking lot on Reidville Road in Spartanburg. The informant returned with a clear plastic bag containing a brown powder substance. The informant was shown a photo of Watkins and confirmed that Watkins was the individual from which the informant made the controlled purchase. The powder was tested by the SCSO Crime lab and was confirmed to be .36 grams of heroin.
On June 29, 2017, deputies with the SCSO received a call about an unconscious individual in a roadway. The person died as a result of a drug overdose. The boyfriend of the individual told deputies that he knew the heroin the individual ingested prior to their death came from Watkins.
The case was investigated by agents of the Spartanburg Police Department and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. Special Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Wells of the Greenville office prosecuted the case.
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