Career criminal sentenced to 18 years in prison for trafficking meth

NEWBERRY, S.C.; December 19, 2023 – A Whitmire man with long criminal history is headed to prison for 18 years after being sentenced Monday in Newberry County, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday.

Tarakus Otazeo Coleman, 31, of Whitmire, pleaded guilty in August 2023 to trafficking methamphetamine, 28 grams to 100 grams. Coleman’s sentencing hearing was deferred until Monday. Circuit Judge Frank R. Addy Jr. sentenced Coleman to 18 years in prison, time which will not be eligible for parole and of which a minimum of 85% of the time must be served in the Department of Corrections.

In the past 12 years, Coleman has two convictions for strong arm robbery, two convictions for burglary, and two other prior convictions for narcotics distribution.

In March 2023, Coleman sold about 170 grams, the equivalent of about six ounces, of methamphetamine to an undercover agent from the State Law Enforcement Division, who was assisting the Newberry Police Department in a multi-agency narcotics sting. The phone calls between undercover agents and Coleman leading up to the buy were recorded and preserved for evidence in the case.

Deputy Solicitor Taylor Daniel handled the case for the state. Coleman was represented by Derrick Mobley of the Newberry County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Newberry Police Department investigator Thomas “Scottie” Peay and SLED Agent Jonathan McWhite in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“Our office is proud to report that another career criminal has been sent to prison to serve a long-term sentence,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “This sentence sends a clear message to guys like Tarakus Coleman who repeatedly disregard our laws and disrespect our communities. My prosecutors and I will continue to fight alongside our law enforcement partners to do everything in our power to rid our streets of deadly and destructive drugs.”

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