Homer Marquette Chestnut, a 44-year-old West Columbia man, pled guilty to trafficking crack cocaine, trafficking cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and failure to stop for blue lights on May 9, 2023, following selecting a jury and beginning a trial on his charges. Circuit Court Judge Debra R. McCaslin, accepted the guilty plea and sentenced Chestnut concurrently to his current active prison sentence and to twenty (20) years on both trafficking charges, ten (10) years on the possession with intent to distribute marijuana charge, and three (3) years on the failure to stop for blue lights. Under South Carolina law, trafficking crack cocaine and trafficking cocaine are classified as a violent, serious, and “no parole” offenses.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Solicitor Kelly Oppenheimer and Deputy Solicitor Angela Martin. This case was investigated by the City of Cayce Police Department and Springdale Police Department.
On April 16, 2022, eight days after Chestnut pled guilty to trafficking crack cocaine and was granted thirty (30) days to turn himself in to the South Carolina Department of Corrections, officers with the Springdale Police Department were doing routine property checks at the Red Roof Inn on Airport Boulevard in Springdale. During their property check, they observed a black motorcycle with a stretched-out wheel and no license plate. Officers attempted to talk with the individual on that motorcycle, an African American male with no helmet, dark clothing, and a black bookbag, but the rider fled the hotel parking lot at a high rate of speed. Springdale officers observed the rider’s direction of travel and radioed the description of both the rider and the motorcycle to the City of Cayce Police Department.
Shortly thereafter, an officer with the City of Cayce Police Department, who was running routine patrol on the flyover of I-26 and I-77, observed a male and motorcycle matching the description Springdale officers provided travelling at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The Cayce officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the motorcycle, but the individual fled, engaging in a pursuit that lasted approximately nine miles. The pursuit ended when the motorcycle was involved in a single-vehicle collision on Atlas Road.
The rider of the motorcycle was identified as Chestnut. After rendering first aid and having Chestnut transported to the hospital, the Cayce officer began inventorying Chestnut’s property so that they could be taken into custody for safekeeping. The officer collected multiple cellphones, Chestnut’s clothing, a GPS monitor, and Chestnut’s bookbag. Inside the bookbag, the officer found approximately thirty (30) grams of marijuana, two crack cookies, weighing approximately forty-four (44) grams, approximately twenty-four (24) grams of cocaine, a digital scale with white powder residue, two razor blades with white powder residue, and a burnt spoon containing white powder residue. The cocaine was individually packaged for sale. In a pocket in Chestnut’s jeans, the officer also found $1,102 in cash.
Chestnut has three prior convictions for trafficking narcotics, as well as five other convictions for the distribution of narcotics.