Spartanburg County businessman Lanford sentenced to more than 4 years

GoUpState.com, goupstate.com
BYLINE: Jenny Arnold,
Link to Article

Woodruff, SC

A federal judge turned down a real estate developer's request for a lighter sentence on drug conspiracy charges based on his age and health conditions on Wednesday.
2011-08-24_Spartanburg County businessman Lanford sentenced_01
Terry Glenn Lanford was sentenced to more than four years in prison Wednesday. Lanford, of Woodruff, was part of a scheme to sell drugs from the Spartanburg County Courthouse's evidence locker.ALEX C. HICKS JR./

Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Herlong Jr. sentenced Woodruff businessman Terry Glenn Lanford, 54, to 50 months in prison for his role in a drug conspiracy involving former Spartanburg Clerk of Court Marc Kitchens and retired magistrate John Poole.

Lanford also will serve three years of probation and pay $40,000 in fines and restitution. He will be required to complete drug testing and treatment during his probation.

Lanford pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine in April.

According the U.S. Attorney's Office, on Jan. 7, 2010, agents with the Greenville DEA agents and local officers conducted interviews with Lanford. Lanford told agents that Kitchens was his source for the drugs supplied to a confidential source in Florida and that Kitchens obtained the drugs from the evidence room at the Spartanburg County Courthouse.

Lanford told agents that Poole brought Lanford and Kitchens together for the drug transaction during discussions at a local bar in the weeks leading up to Lanford's trip to Florida to sell the drugs removed from the courthouse evidence room.

Poole, according to authorities, knew both Lanford and Kitchens, and knew that Lanford made frequent business trips to Florida.

Herlong questioned the possibility that Lanford's various health problems cropped up after he began cooperating with the DEA and faced charges in the case. Court proceedings for Lanford have been delayed several times during the past two years because of health issues.

Herlong also pointed out that Lanford knew the drug buyer in Florida because he had done cocaine and met with the buyer at strip clubs while traveling on business.

"I don't remember doing that," Lanford said, although later in the hearing he said he had done cocaine three or four times but said he met with the buyer in sports bars, not strip clubs.

After about an hour of discussing aspects of the case with Lanford, Herlong said he was going to take a recess before determining Lanford's sentence.

"I don't think I need to ask you anymore questions," Herlong said. "I think I have a real clear picture of you."
Federal sentencing guidelines suggested 57 to 71 months in prison for Lanford's crime. Herlong said he took into consideration his cooperation with DEA agents, his lack of a prior record and his "industrious and successful life" that garnered him a $15 million net worth.

Herlong also said that the case should send a message that individuals cannot conspire with public officials to steal and sell drugs.

Before Herlong announced his sentence, Lanford said he wanted to express deepest remorse for his participation in the conspiracy.

"It is totally out of my character," Lanford said. "I know I did wrong and it's tearing me apart. I'm deeply sorry."

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