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Drug trafficker sentenced to 20 years in federal prison

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A South Carolina man was sentenced Tuesday to serve 240 months in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, for cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking charges.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) and the York County Sheriff's Office.

Ronnie Lee Neely, 34, of York, S.C., was convicted by a trial jury on Oct. 20, 2010, for conspiring to distribute and possession with intent to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine and at least 50 grams of crack cocaine from 2004 to October 2009. He is also convicted of attempting to possess at least 500 grams of cocaine on June 1, 2009.

According to records, Neely was connected to a seizure in May 2009 of 13 kilograms of cocaine in Charlotte. When law enforcement officers arrested him in June 2010, they also seized from his home 20 grams of crack cocaine and 110 grams of powder cocaine, $11,430 in cash, more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana and a hydraulic press used for distributing bulk amounts of drugs.

Evidence presented at trial also included testimony from other co-conspirators about a 2004 incident in which law enforcement searched Neely's home and found a half an ounce of crack cocaine, 10 pills of MDMA, also known as "Ecstasy," a set of digital scales used for weighing drugs and $4,800 in cash.

Neely's co-defendant, Dwayne Andrew Renwrick, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine and was sentenced by in March 2011 to serve 30 months in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release.

Neely and Renwrick have been in local federal custody since they were arrested in June 2010.

Upon designation of a federal facility, they will be transferred into custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte.