South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers
Former South Carolina state trooper Kurt Steffen admitted to transporting marijuana in his patrol vehicle and was sentenced to five years in prison on Monday.
United States Attorney Bill Nettles said that Steffen, 30, of Summerville was charged and sentenced for manufacturing and possessing with intent to distribute 100 or more marijuana plants.
Senior United States District Judge C. Weston Houck sentenced the former state trooper to 60 months followed by 4 years of supervised release.
Nettles said evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Steffen was part of a large scale indoor marijuana growing and trafficking operation while he also worked as a state trooper with the SC Highway Patrol.
After that, Steffen along with several other individuals decided to start a large scale drug operation.
According to Nettles, Steffen purchased a five-acre tract of land in Ridgeville,SC, in May 2008, which was intended to serve as the location for the marijuana growth.
The area was eventually located by the Dorchester County Metro Narcotic’s Unit in January 2010, but the operation yielded multiple harvests of marijuana for Steffen and his co-defendants, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of profit.
Deputies executed a search warrant on the property in January 2010 and discovered thousands of dollars worth of equipment and over 300 marijuana plants spread throughout three different structures on the property.
During his change of plea hearing, Steffen admitted to transporting marijuana in his police cruiser. He also agreed to forfeit his interest in the Ridgeville property to the federal government.
Steffen was looking at five to 40 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5 million to be followed by a minimum of four years supervised release.
According to The Post and Courier, the case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, and the Summerville Police Department.
Steffen was hired by the South Carolina Highway Patrol in May 2007 and graduated from theSouth CarolinaPoliceAcademyin November 2007.