GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA — Larry Anthony Ladson, Sr., 52, of Fountain Inn, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of federal gun and drug offenses.
Ladson was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances including methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana, and possessing firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking crimes.
Evidence presented to the jury and the court showed that in January of 2020, officers with the Fountain Inn Police Department and deputies with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office went to Ladson’s trailer to serve search and arrest warrants in connection with a violent crime. Upon entering the trailer, officers saw drugs in plain view, and after securing a search warrant, deputies found methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and marijuana, as well as baggies, scales, cash, and other items indicative of drug trafficking. Deputies also discovered a loaded revolver in Ladson’s bedroom, which had previously been reported stolen. Ladson was charged by the state, but after being released on bond, law enforcement learned that he went right back to selling drugs.
Investigators with the Fountain Inn Police Department, the Greenville County Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted surveillance and observed significant traffic to and from Ladson’s trailer. They also stopped and recovered drugs from several of Ladson’s customers. On September 9, 2020, law enforcement executed another search warrant at Ladson’s home. Once again, they found illegal drugs, cash, baggies, scales, and other tools of the drug trafficking trade. They also discovered a loaded gun hidden under Ladson’s pillow. After a police K9 alerted to an area near Ladson’s bedroom closet, investigators found a safe in a hidden compartment that had been cut into the floor. The safe contained significant amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as thousands of dollars in cash and additional ammunition.
The jury was presented with dozens of exhibits, including drugs, scales, packaging, multiple guns, ammunition, and even a microwave smeared with crack cocaine residue, which was recovered from Ladson’s bathroom. Jurors were also shown text message conversations with drug customers on Ladson’s cell phone and data from a home security system indicating that his front door was often opened over a hundred times a day during the period when investigators observed drug customers coming to and from his home.
After several days of trial, the jury convicted Ladson on all counts.
United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins sentenced Ladson to 204 months in prison, to be followed by a five-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Fountain Inn Police Department, and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and Greenville County Drug Enforcement Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Schoen and Bill Watkins prosecuted the case for the United States.