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‘Prison empire’ investigation in South Carolina leads to 100 suspects indicted on drug trafficking charges

A paralegal in South Carolina is accused of using hollowed-out documents in legal mail to smuggle methamphetamine into the prison system, according to South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Wilson announced Monday that the paralegal was indicted as part of the drug trafficking case known as "Prison Empire."

Information about Prison Empire was first released in 2019 in Pickens County.

On Monday, Wilson said the state grand jury had issued more indictments in the case, making it the largest number of defendants for a single narcotics conspiracy investigation ever indicted in South Carolina courts...

Pence to give speech in SC, his 1st since leaving office

In his first public address since the end of the Trump administration, former Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to South Carolina, set to speak to a conservative Christian nonprofit in the state that plays a crucial role in the presidential nominating process.

Next month, Pence will keynote a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a Pence aide told The Associated Press on Sunday. The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity due to a lack of permission to discuss the plans publicly.

The Palmetto Family lobbies for what it considers to be “biblical values,” such as heterosexual marriage, and most recently helped push through a ban on most abortions in South Carolina. That law is now being challenged in court...

Group of SC veterans wants state's medical marijuana bill passed

A group of veterans wants lawmakers to make medical cannabis legal in South Carolina.

Compassionate SC says it helps with PTSD after returning from war zones. The veterans say it relaxes them and helps them have a better quality of life.

Thirty-six states across the country have medical cannabis laws, but not South Carolina.

Don Howell is a nurse and Navy veteran.

“Lawmakers in South Carolina are the only ones who can make this happen,” he said...

South Carolina's school superintendent weighs in on trans sports ban bill

South Carolina’s education superintendent made a surprise appearance at a hearing Wednesday to ask House members to not pass a bill that would prevent transgender students from playing on girls sports teams in middle and high school.

Just minutes after Education Superintendent Molly Spearman spoke, a House subcommittee Wednesday voted 3-1 in favor of the proposal.

It now goes to the full House Judiciary Committee. Spearman says the bill would not protect transgender students in a very sensitive personal situation...

Greer man charged in Capitol riots claimed to dress ‘just like antifa,’ FBI affidavit says

A South Carolina man was arrested and is accused of attacking police during the U.S. Capitol riots, then bragging about it.

William Norwood III, of Greer, faces several federal charges including violent entry, theft of government property, obstruction of Congress, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

An FBI affidavit states Norwood texted a family member before the riots and told them that he planned to dress “just like antifa.”

The Associated Press defines antifa as shorthand for anti-fascists, an umbrella description for the far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations and other events.

The affidavit includes several screenshots of the texts, as well as photos of Norwood at the Capitol that day, according to the FBI agent...

Greenville's Commerce Club announces it will permanently close

A long-time center for Greenville business and social events is closing after almost 40 years.

The Commerce Club announced Monday it will permanently close on Friday, March 19.

The business made the announcement on its webpage and on its Facebook page.

"We thank you for many wonderful years and will treasure the memories we've made with members and staff over the years," the post said. "It has been our privilege and pleasure to serve you.”

No other information was immediately available...

Police: Porch Pirate steals 4-year-old’s package in N. Charleston

A South Carolina father says his 4-year-old son saved $20 to purchase a toy from Amazon.

Hank Henry says when his son’s package arrived at their home it was stolen while they were out of town.

It was a marble race track. Henry says his son earned the money by doing chores and helping around the house.

An incident report from the North Charleston Police Department says the theft happened two weeks ago and the suspect was wearing cowboy boots...

Lawmaker introducing bill allowing Donald Trump to be buried on SC Statehouse grounds

A South Carolina Republican lawmaker said he is filing a bill that would allow former President Donald Trump to be buried on the grounds of the state Capitol if Trump is banned from being buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Rep. RJ May said his bill is in response to a bill in the U.S. House sponsored by a Democrat banning twice impeached presidents from being honored with the burial at one of the nation’s most revered resting places or having federal money spent on any memorials.

Trump is the only president to be impeached twice.

May’s proposed bill only applies to twice acquitted presidents — the U.S. Senate refused to convict Trump both times the House impeached him.

If Trump agreed to be buried at the South Carolina Statehouse, a committee would determine a proper resting place.

NC woman accused of spending COVID-19 relief loan at Nieman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, officials say

A North Carolina woman who lied to get a coronavirus relief loan spent the money on shopping excursions to Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton and diamond stores, federal prosecutors said.

Jasmine Johnnae Clifton, 24, appeared in court Monday and was later released on $25,000 bond, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina.

The release said Clifton applied in March for a Small Business Administration loan designed to provide relief to existing businesses harmed by pandemic shutdowns.

She created false documents claiming $350,000 in gross revenue in 12 months for her online clothing business, Jazzy Jas, even though other paperwork filed in early 2020 showed the company was effectively dissolved in September 2019, it said...

3 people shot overnight in Greer neighborhood, police say

Three people were hurt in an early morning shooting outside a home.

Police were called just before 3 a.m. to Pleasant Drive for reports of a shooting. Officers found three victims at the scene. All three people were taken to Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital, police said. Police say all three victims required surgery.

Police do not have an update on their conditions...

'Armed and dangerous' man with full head tattoo wanted in Asheville

The Asheville Police Department is asking for help finding Dominique Lamar Fore in connection with a stabbing at a hotel on Saturday.

"We ask that caution be taken and 911 be contacted immediately if he is located. He is considered armed and dangerous," police said.

Fore is described as a Black male; 30 years old; 5 feet, 10 inches tall; and approximately 165 pounds.

He has brown eyes and is bald.

Fore has several tattoos including a full head tattoo, a spider web on his right cheek, "B" on his neck and "KC" between his eyes.

Police said Fore has an open warrant for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury after a stabbing that occurred on Feb. 21 at the Holiday Inn on Smokey Park Highway...

Spartanburg County man charged with teacher's death following crash

A Spartanburg County man has been charged in connection with a teacher's death following a crash last week, according to Tommy Crosby, with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

According to Crosby, Andres Antonio Barron, 28, was charged with several violations.

  • Reckless Homicide
  • Failure To Stop For Blue Lights Resulting In Death
  • Driving Under Suspension, 1st Offense
  • Failure To Return Driver’s License After Notice Of Suspension
  • Operating Vehicle Which Is Not Registered And Licensed
  • Use Of License Plate Other Than For Vehicle Which Issued

The coroner said Jessica Ruth Munyon, 36, of Moore, South Carolina, died Feb. 10 on Blackstock Road...

Former US Sen. Bob Dole announces he has stage 4 lung cancer

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, of Kansas, has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, according to a statement shared on social media from official accounts.

“My first treatment will begin on Monday,” the statement from Dole said. “While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also know that I join millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own.”

Dole represented Kansas in the U.S. House and Senate for a total of 35 years and ran unsuccessfully for president in 1996.

Dole, 97, is a native of Russell, Kansas. He earned two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for valor for his service in the Army during World War II...

Conservative Talk ICON, Rush Limbaugh, Dead at 70

(FOX NEWS) Rush Limbaugh, the monumentally influential media icon who transformed talk radio and politics in his decades behind the microphone, helping shape the modern-day Republican Party, died Wednesday morning at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer, his family announced.

Limbaugh's wife, Kathryn, made the announcement on his radio show. "Losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life," she said. "Rush will forever be the greatest of all time."

The radio icon learned he had Stage IV lung cancer in January 2020 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump at the State of the Union address days later. First lady Melania Trump then presented America’s highest civilian honor to Limbaugh in an emotional moment on the heels of his devastating cancer diagnosis.

Bar owners push back on part of Clemson's mask ordinance

The city of Clemson voted to extend its mask ordinance Monday night. Multiple bar and restaurant owners in downtown Clemson called into the virtual city council meeting saying a part of the mask ordinance hurts business and goes too far.

"The city is turning some 'shoulds' into 'shalls' and that's what's hurting us," said Cameron Farish, co-owner of Tiger Town Tavern.

Farish believes a part of Clemson's mask ordinance goes further than statewide mandates instituted by Gv. Henry McMaster's executive order. Specifically, the part of the order that says while a person is in a bar or restaurant they must be seated to eat and drink to remove a face mask. Clemson city attorney Mary McCormac said they are within the governor's executive order.

"The governor's executive order also provides specifically that with respects to restaurants based on conditions in your local communities, that local governments, whether it's counties or municipalities can have stricter guidelines," McCormac said...

Upstate center hoping for local support after learning of federal funding cuts

Local organizations that help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse are at risk of losing funding without Congressional help.

One of those organizations is the Julie Valentine Center in Greenville.

Wednesday, the center’s director learned the cut there will be $70,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. That represents 10 percent of the funding that comes from the federal government’s Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA.

The Julie Valentine Center and other companion organizations around the state have been told the following fiscal year could bring a 40 percent cut...

Gina Carano fired from ‘Mandalorian’ after social media post

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lucasfilm says Gina Carano is no longer a part of “The Mandalorian” cast after many online called for her firing over a social media post that likened the experience of Jews during the Holocaust to the U.S. political climate.

A spokesperson with the production company said in a statement on Wednesday that Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm with “no plans for her to be in the future.”

“Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable,” the statement read...

Smokers will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine ahead of general public in South Carolina

Thousands of vaccines have already been administered in South Carolina and appointments are booked for months for those still waiting.

As it stands right now, those with “underlying health conditions” are eligible to get a vaccine in Phase 1C in South Carolina. Some of those include Chronic Kidney Disease, heart conditions and cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is also on the list.

“I understand smokers are at higher risk,” Eva Mueller, who’s been smoking for 15 years, said. “With me being a smoker, I fully understand that. But I think kids, elderly, first responders – they all should be first.”

While Mueller is ready to get the vaccine, she doesn’t necessarily think smokers should be given preferential treatment.

SC residents 65+ can schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments beginning Monday

South Carolina residents aged 65 and older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, can begin scheduling their appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine today.

DHEC’s online tool at shows locations currently accepting appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine and provides contact information for scheduling appointments at those locations.

DHEC said with increased vaccine allocations from the federal government and a streamlined, statewide vaccination plan, it is now appropriate to expand the number of South Carolinians eligible to receive vaccine.

However, supply of the vaccine remains limited for the time being, DHEC said....

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