NEWS

2 from Lexington sentenced for selling pills after teen dies of drug overdose

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced today that Shiv Balvant Tailor and Savannah Stroud pleaded guilty to charges for their participation in a drug trafficking conspiracy primarily involving heroin and fentanyl in Lexington, Richland, and Saluda counties.

Tailor and Stroud – Detention center photos

Shiv Balvant Tailor, 24, of Lexington, and Savannah Lynn Stroud, 23, of Lexington, were charged in May of 2019 with Trafficking Heroin 14-28 grams (Conspiracy). Specifically, the indictment alleged the “defendants conspired to deal counterfeit ‘Roxies’ consisting of a mixture containing heroin and other substances, including in some instances fentanyl.” Defendants were also charged with a number of other drug distribution and drug trafficking-related crimes.

The Honorable Walton J. McLeod, IV, sentenced Tailor to 20 years on the Trafficking Heroin charge with sentences on the other charges running concurrently. Savannah Stroud was sentenced to 8 years for Trafficking Heroin with sentences on her other charges running concurrently. Stroud cooperated with the investigation after her arrest and was not directly involved in the death of Bradley Brunson

The evidence showed many of the customers of this drug trafficking conspiracy were then-current or recent graduates of Lexington High School and River Bluff High School. Tailor involved his then-girlfriend, Savannah Stroud, in the drug trafficking organization. Together the two trafficked as many as 3000 counterfeit pills that contained heroin or fentanyl from June of 2018 to March of 2019.

Shiv Tailor was indicted by the State Grand Jury for murder in the death of 19-year-old Bradley Brunson. Brunson died on November 23, 2018 from an overdose of fentanyl in a counterfeit pill traced through the investigation into Tailor’s drug dealing. The evidence showed Tailor was present when a previous young man overdosed on pills Tailor had sold to him, and Tailor left the scene without rendering aid. Fortunately, that young man’s friends got him to the hospital and he survived. Not long after, Tailor sold a pill to Brunson knowing from the previous overdose that he had a “hot” batch (pills laced with a dangerous amount of fentanyl). Bradley took the pill alone in his room and was later found dead by his family.

South Carolina currently does not have a statute specifically addressing penalties for drug trafficking that causes a drug overdose death, nor does it have a fentanyl trafficking statute. Various bills are currently before the General Assembly on this issue as well on passing a fentanyl trafficking statute; however, none of these bills has the mandatory minimum prison sentences present in the current statutes for other drugs like methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine.

“South Carolina, and indeed the nation, is in the middle of an opiate epidemic,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said. “Highly potent and deadly fentanyl is being laced in counterfeit Oxycontin and Xanax pills, as well as in other substances such as Ecstasy, cocaine, and marijuana. Users are essentially playing Russian roulette with these substances because drug dealers and bathroom chemists are not careful to ensure that they do not put too much fentanyl into whatever they are lacing. All it takes is a little too much fentanyl to be dosed on something and all the Narcan in the county cannot not save you,” Wilson added.

“South Carolina law does need to include a robust fentanyl trafficking statute as well as a provision addressing situations where a drug dealer’s trafficking causes overdoses. However, a narcotics epidemic like the one we are in now is not the time to change the law to reduce possible sentences for drug traffickers and get rid of mandatory minimum prison time for those who would sell such dangerous poisons to the community,” Attorney General Wilson said.

Shiv Balvant Tailor pleaded guilty to the following charges:

  • Trafficking Heroin, 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams (2019-GS-47-07; Count 1)
  • Involuntary Manslaughter (2019-GS-47-11)
  • Distribution of Narcotic Drugs in Schedule II (Fentanyl) (2019-GS-47-12; Count 3)
  • Distribution of Narcotic Drugs in Schedule II (Fentanyl) (2019-GS-47-14; Count 1)
  • Distribution of Narcotic Drugs in Schedule I (c) (Heroin) (2019-GS-47-35; Count 12)
  • Possession of Cocaine (2019-GS-47-35; Count 2)

Savannah Lynn Stroud pleaded guilty to the following charges:

  • Trafficking Heroin, 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams (2019-GS-47-07; Count 1)
  • Distribution of Narcotic Drugs in Schedule II (Fentanyl) (2019-GS-47-12; Count 3)
  • Possession With Intent to Distribute Narcotic Drugs in Schedule I(c) (Heroin) (2019-GS-47-35; Count 14)
  • Possession With Intent to Distribute Narcotic Drugs in Schedule II, (Cocaine) (2019-GS-47-35; Count 17)

The case was investigated by the South Carolina State Grand Jury with a partnership of the Attorney General’s State Grand Jury Section, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the Saluda County Sheriff’s Department, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department, and the City of Columbia Police Department. The cases were prosecuted by State Grand Jury Section Chief S. Creighton Waters and Assistant Attorney General Savanna Goude. Attorney General Wilson thanked his team and all the involved law enforcement agencies for their excellent work in this State Grand Jury investigation.