Largest Marijuana Bust in Beaufort County, SC since the 1970s.
Posted in the Charlotte Forum
#1 Feb 20, 2008
February 20, 2008
Smuggling pot into Beaufort County, SC, GA counties nets skipper 18 years
He had a sailboat called the "Cat's Meow." But it wasn't catnip the former skipper was bringing from Jamaica.
Garry Chupurdy, 58, was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for smuggling nearly two tons of marijuana into South Carolina and Georgia aboard a 78-foot catamaran that bore the feline moniker.
"It was a substantial case," said Edmund A. Booth Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
The pot wound up in Beaufort County, SC and Chatham County, GA Chupurdy brought about 1,500 pounds of it in May 2006 and another 2,000 pounds during a separate voyage that ended in June of last year, prosecutors said.
Evidence showed the drugs would be loaded onto the "Cat's Meow" off the coast of Jamaica and put in air-tight plastic bags during the return voyage, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Chupurdy, a former Hilton Head Island resident, would leave the drugs in the shallow U.S. coastal waters and retrieve them later using a smaller motor boat and scuba gear. He would store the cargo in a Savannah warehouse for distribution throughout the United States.
Chupurdy, of Thunderbolt, Ga., had been in custody since his arrest June 25 and cooperated with authorities, prosecutors said. U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield sentenced him Tuesday to just over 18 years in prison. In October, Chupurdy had pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and importing 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, and other related charges.
Two Savannah residents also were sentenced Tuesday to more than four years in prison each, the prosecutors said. Chupurdy's former fiancee, 33-year-old Qing Hong Xiang, pleaded guilty in October to possession with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, conspiracy to import more than 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana and conspiring to launder money. Former crew mate Aaron Lee Browne, 36, pleaded guilty in November to interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises.
The Beaufort County, SC Sheriff's Office first got wind of the case from confidential informants. Other investigating agencies included the U.S. Coast Guard; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department; and the Thunderbolt Police Department.
Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said it was the largest marijuana bust in the county since the 1970s.
#2 Feb 22, 2008
18 years in jail for pot? What a waste of the taxpayers money. This guy is serving a longer sentence than some murderers and most rapists. I guess our government has officially gone up in smoke.
#3 Feb 23, 2008
If you "google" the name Garry Chupurdy (the man convicted of smuggling pot) you'd find that his name shows up on line in connection of the buying of large amounts of real estate over the last 15 years. Do you realize that these dope pushers and their bankers use these drug proceeds to purchase real estate, stocks, etc. Literally most US banks are hooked on dope money.
The bankers who financed Garry Chupurdy had to be aware that his money was dirty and they helped him launder it.
They should go after the bankers not the smuggler.
#4 Apr 2, 2014
So true. Hardworking persons who struggle and work their asses off pay the price of so many corrupt activities from politicians to drug pushers. Oh did I just become redundant?
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