judge's gavel

A Myrtle Beach man whose drug sales led to an overdose death in 2019 received a 12-year prison sentence this week, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

Darrell Levon Curry, 31, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, and crack cocaine, the release stated.

Evidence presented at Curry's guilty plea and sentencing showed that he distributed drugs in and around Horry County from 2016 through 2019.

On May 21, 2019, Curry sold fentanyl that led to two overdoses, one of which was fatal. In that case, the victims contacted Curry, who was one of their regular drug dealers, to obtain $20 worth of heroin. Curry gave them a substance he called “China White,” a term that commonly refers to a light-colored type of heroin, with an understanding they would pay for the drugs later.  The victims split the small amount of what was purported to be heroin between them, snorted it and immediately overdosed. 

The victims were located by their teenage children who called 911 and attempted to revive them with CPR until paramedics arrived, according to the release. The overdose treatment Narcan was administered to both victims. One responded and has since fully recovered. However, Samuel Erny of Horry County died from his overdose. 

Toxicology reports showed the drug ingested by the victims was fentanyl, not heroin.

Curry left the site of the overdose before authorities arrived and was arrested several days later on federal charges.

“As this case shows, those who push drugs that kill others will be dealt with swiftly and severely,” U.S. District Attorney Peter McCoy Jr. said in the release. “This case would not be possible without the work of our joint federal, state and local task force designed to disrupt and dismantle the flow of deadly opioids into the Myrtle Beach area. With these partners, we will continue to aggressively prosecute those who deal in illegal narcotics, especially those who distribute opioids that cause death and serious injury.”

Jody Norris, a special agent with the FBI, agreed.

"This case should be taken as a stern warning, both for those who seek to use heroin and those who supply it laced with fentanyl,” Norris said in the release. “The work of the FBI and our state and local partners will continue in an effort to find those that peddle in this poison.”

Along with the FBI, the case was investigated by the Horry County Police Department, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit and the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

During Curry's sentencing, the court heard about the impact that the overdose death had on Erny’s family. Erny’s family described him as a hardworking husband who had struggled with addiction for several years. 

U.S. District Judge Donald C. Coggins Jr. sentenced Curry to 145 months in federal prison to be followed by a six-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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