2 SC inmates sentenced to federal prison in separate drug trafficking rings

Crime

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – Two South Carolina inmates were sentenced to federal prison in separate drug trafficking rings.

Glenn Quanta Pernell, 41, and Joseph, Sr., 39, are inmates in the SC Department Corrections system and were sentenced “in federal court for their roles in separate major drug trafficking rings run from inside prison walls using contraband cell phones,” said the office of A. Lance Crick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina.

Pernell was sentenced to life “after jury convicted him of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine, cocaine base, and heroin, in addition to several other drug-related charges.”

LEFT: Glenn Quanta Pernell in a booking photo from the SC Department of Corrections dated February 22, 2017. RIGHT: Joseph Russell Umphlett, Sr. in a booking photo from the SCDC dated October 14, 2015.
LEFT: Glenn Quanta Pernell in a booking photo from the SC Department of Corrections dated February 22, 2017. RIGHT: Joseph Russell Umphlett, Sr. in a booking photo from the SCDC dated October 14, 2015.

“During an 8-day trial in August 2019, the jury heard hours of recorded conversations between Pernell and his coconspirators.  According to the evidence at trial, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Columbia Violent Gang Task Force (CVGTF) began investigating several Columbia-based drug dealers in 2016,” Crick’s office also said. “Wiretaps on their phones revealed that the dealers were being supplied cocaine and heroin from an organization in Marion County.”

Crick’s office said Pernell was “an inmate serving two 25-year consecutive state sentences for drug trafficking” and was “the leader of that organization.”

“Pernell employed a network of people, including his mother, Hattie Pernell, and his sister, Whitney Pernell, to purchase drugs from his Mexican drug suppliers, to deliver drugs to his customers, and to collect and store drug proceeds from the sales,” added Crick’s office. “Pernell ran his operation from within prison walls at Lieber Correctional Institution, using contraband cell phones to direct and oversee the daily operations of the organization.”

Umphett, Sr. received a 20-year sentence “after pleading guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.” This sentence “will be served consecutive to a separate life sentence he is serving in SCDC.”

” While serving his life sentence in Lieber Correctional Institution, Umphlett began using contraband cell phones to lead a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine throughout Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties,” stated Crick’s Office. “During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized over five kilograms of methamphetamine and over three kilograms of heroin.  Umphlett was indicted along with 11 co-defendants, including his mother, Valerie Collins.  Collins was previously sentenced to 100 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in the conspiracy.”

“Because of uncontrolled access to contraband cell phones, inmates already serving lengthy state sentences for serious drug convictions were able to continue bringing deadly, addictive drugs into our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Crick.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is proud to lock arms with the Department of Corrections and our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to protect both the general public and the prison population from the public safety threat caused by contraband phones.”  

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