Pair of inmates receive additional sentences for involvement with drug trafficking rings

Pair of inmates receive additional sentences for involvement with drug trafficking rings
Generic prison bars graphic. (Source: Gray News, file)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two South Carolina inmates will now serve more time after officials discovered their involvement in major drug trafficking rings run from inside prisons.

Officials said 41-year-old Glenn Pernell and 39-year-old Joseph Umphlett each received additional sentences for their roles in the crimes.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Pernell was serving two consecutive 25-year state sentences for drug trafficking. However, he was sentenced to life in federal prison after investigators used wiretaps to determine that Pernell was the leader of an organization supplying cocaine and heroin to sell in Marion County. Officials said Pernell hired his sister, his mother, and others to buy drugs from Mexican drug dealers and deliver them to customers. Authorities determined Pernell was using a contraband cell phone from Lieber Correctional Institution.

Umphlett, who was already serving a life sentence at Lieber Correctional for a previous drug charge, was also using a contraband cell phone to help distribute large amounts of methamphetamine and heroin in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. Umphlett has now been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin and methamphetamine. During the investigations, officials found five kilograms of methamphetamine and more than three kilograms of heroin. Umphlett was indicted with 11 other co-defendants, including his mother.

“These inmates were able to commit crimes while behind bars because of contraband cell phones,” said Bryan Stirling, director of the S.C. Department of Corrections. “I am grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners for bringing these men to justice.”

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