In a joint effort, Sumter law enforcement agencies have arrested seven individuals in the past week for their suspected involvement in illegal drug activity and shooting incidents reported primarily in southern and western parts of the county.
As a result of a strategic enforcement effort, city and county authorities were able to further stymie an emerging pattern of illegal incidents associated with rival neighborhood groups by arresting four brothers allegedly involved in illegal drug activity on Wednesday, states a release from Sumter Police Department.
Markus D. Peterson, 28 and his twin brother, Martiz L. Peterson; Harry Javon Peterson, 30; and Cortez Jerome Singleton, 34, all of South Guignard Drive, were arrested at a residence on South Guignard Drive where marijuana, crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and more than $3,500 in cash were found, states the release.
Markus Peterson is charged with three counts of distribution of marijuana, three counts of distribution of marijuana within a half mile of a school or park, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana within a half mile of a school or park.
Martiz Peterson, Harry Peterson and Singleton are each charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and intent to distribute marijuana within a half-mile of a school or park.
Singleton is additionally charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and intent to distribute crack within a half mile of a school or park.
The brothers were booked at Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center where their bonds were set, ranging from $5,000 and $40,000.
On Dec. 7, the combined efforts of city and county law enforcement resulted in the arrests of Kalvin Epps, 21, Rakim Butler, 27, and Hikeem Ward, 20, for multiple firearms and drug offenses.
Bond was denied for Epps and Butler, and Ward was released on a $60,000 surety bond.
Epps is also charged with discharging a firearm into a dwelling in connection to the shooting death of 54-year-old Marcus Brown on Oct. 30.
Authorities say Epps fired shots at a home on Silver Street and Brown, who was not the intended target, was killed when individuals retaliated with gunfire at a house on Salem Street where Epps was known to frequent, said Tonyia McGirt, public information officer for the police department.
Efforts to identify others involved in Brown's shooting are continuing, she said.
In addition to Brown, she said law enforcement officials say the true victims are the many residents who live in these areas who are not associated with the ongoing dispute between these neighborhood groups.
Individuals associated with these groups and areas tend to be repeat offenders who are out on bond for previous criminal activity or who were recently released from custody, she said.
Both the police department and Sumter County Sheriff’s Office would like to encourage residents to contact law enforcement anytime they suspect illegal activity in their neighborhood, she said.
Forming a neighborhood watch group can be an effective way to discourage illegal activity in a community, she said.
For more information on how to form a neighborhood watch group or to report suspicious activity, call Sumter Police Department at (803) 436-2700 or Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 436-2000.
Always dial 911 in case of an emergency.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or by going to www.P3tips.com and clicking on the “Submit a New Tip” tab.
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