Looks like crime pays in the Democrat Party. Associated with Mexican drug cartels and is elected to leadership of the Democrat Party in SC.
The South Carolina Democratic Party Has a Cocaine (Trafficking) Problem

Collin Anderson • May 2, 2022 4:59 am

In the last three years, political operative Jason Belton joined a billionaire Democrat's presidential campaign, became a campaign manager for a U.S. Senate race, and won election to a South Carolina Democratic Party leadership position—all while under federal indictment for trafficking nearly nine pounds of cocaine.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Belton and a co-conspirator in February 2017 contacted a drug source in California to request large quantities of cocaine, which they planned to distribute out of Columbia, S.C. Days later, the indictment states, Belton accepted a package containing four kilograms of coke from San Bernardino drug dealer Estevan Ortiz, who is also known as "Stevie," "Wonder," and "Little Man."

Federal agents went on to arrest Belton in South Carolina in January 2018. As the case progressed, however, Belton became implicated in a nationwide drug trafficking ring that federal authorities busted in 2020 following a three-year investigation. Belton's California connects were caught with 77 kilograms of cocaine, 9 kilograms of heroin, 150 pounds of methamphetamine, 989 fentanyl pills, 19 guns, and nearly $2 million in cash, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a January 2020 press release. Following the bust, federal prosecutors moved Belton's case to the Golden State, where it remains active.

But Belton's apparent criminality has done little to deter his career—in fact, the operative's political sphere expanded significantly after his arrest. In August 2019, Belton joined liberal billionaire Tom Steyer's presidential campaign as its deputy political director, a gig that earned him more than $40,000 over a six-months period. After Steyer left the race in February 2020, Belton cofounded a political consulting firm, C&J Consulting, which boasts at least one client: Democratic South Carolina state legislator Krystle Matthews, who is challenging Republican senator Tim Scott. Belton, who in January was elected the third chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party Black Caucus, has described himself as Matthews's campaign manager.

Belton's political work did overlap with his criminal indictment in one instance. In March 2020, Belton successfully persuaded the court to remove his GPS ankle monitor because he said it interfered with his work as a "lobbyist."

"Belton now wishes to eliminate the GPS location monitoring condition which requires him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet," Belton's attorney wrote in a court filing. "Belton has advised me that he is a lobbyist and the electronic ankle bracelet presents a problem for him with security on his frequent entries into the State House in Columbia, South Carolina."

Belton and the South Carolina Democratic Party did not return requests for comment.

In addition to his affiliation with Steyer and Matthews, Belton has worked with an array of prominent South Carolina Democrats through his state party leadership role. Gubernatorial candidates Joe Cunningham and Mia McLeod attended the South Carolina Democratic Party Black Caucus's "Sunday Dinner" event in March, as did former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson. Belton's self-described "grassroots political action" nonprofit, Vision Walkers, also provided security for House majority whip Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.) during an August 2020 event in Columbia.

Due to the size and complexity of Belton's federal drug case—the indictment lists 23 additional defendants—the operative's trial has been delayed on at least four occasions as attorneys sort through evidence. Belton is scheduled to travel to California for trial in August, just two months after Matthews will face off against two opponents in South Carolina's Democratic Senate primary election. He won't have to worry about covering the travel costs, however. In March 2021, the court granted a request from Belton's attorney that orders the U.S. Marshals Service to "furnish defendant Jason Donnell Belton with air fare, lodging, and per diem subsistence expenses in connection with the trial of this case."

Belton's 2018 arrest was not his first significant run-in with law enforcement. In 2007, local police arrested Belton over his involvement in a drive-by shooting. Belton, who was 19 at the time, received six months' probation for "criminal conspiracy," court records show.

But the political operative's criminal history and active legal battle are not the only sources of controversy for South Carolina Democrats. Belton's business partner, fellow C&J Consulting and Vision Walkers cofounder Craig Khanwell, is a longtime follower of anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has compared Jews to termites. Khanwell—who serves as South Carolina Democratic Party Black Caucus second chair—has referred to Farrakhan as his father figure, praised Farrakhan as "the epitome of the greatest among men," and argued that accusations of anti-Semitism are merely "a trick" to "stifle legitimate criticism of Jews and Zionist Israel."

Khanwell has also espoused extreme anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. In one Instagram post, he said taking the vaccine would mean giving Bill Gates, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other "white" men "control of my molecular information." In another post, Khanwell shared a TikTok that called COVID the "biggest hoax of America" and speculated that those who died from the virus may have actually died from the flu. In June 2021, the South Carolina Democratic Party blamed Republicans for the state's "extremely low vaccination rates."


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Indictment Charges Members of Inland Empire Drug Trafficking Ring with Transporting Kilograms of Cocaine by Mail and Trucks

LOS ANGELES – Authorities this morning arrested 16 defendants linked to an Inland Empire-based drug trafficking ring that used the U.S. Postal Service and private vehicles to ship large quantities of cocaine and other narcotics to buyers across the country.
A 17-count indictment charges a total of 24 defendants with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. The indictment also charges some of the defendants with distribution of controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and being felons in possession of ammunition.
Over the course of the three-year investigation, authorities across the United States seized a total of approximately 77 kilograms of cocaine, nine kilograms of heroin, 150 pounds of methamphetamine, 989 fentanyl pills, 19 firearms, and $1,894,869 in suspected drug proceeds.
Thirteen of the defendants arrested today are expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. An additional three defendants were arrested in Ohio and South Carolina.
Between October 2016 and May 2018, members of the conspiracy mailed large quantities of narcotics from post offices throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties to recipients nationwide – including New York, Ohio, Michigan, and South Carolina – in exchange for large cash payments, often in excess of $100,000, according to the indictment.
The lead defendant in this case – Ricardo Alejandro Bazan, a.k.a. “Ricky,” “Chuco” and “Chu,” 41, of Riverside – allegedly directed the drug trafficking ring. The indictment alleges that illicit drug proceeds were sent back to California and were ultimately delivered to Bazan.
Co-defendants Doroteo Mendoza Torrez, a.k.a. “Guerro” and “Guerito,” 57, of Eastvale, and Edulfo Leyva Perez, a.k.a. “Gallo,” 54, of San Jacinto, allegedly arranged for narcotics to be shipped from Mexico and Colombia to Southern California.
Bazan then provided drugs to Noel Granados, a.k.a. “Big Show,” 40, of Moreno Valley, who arranged for the drugs to be shipped to co-conspirators in other states via U.S. mail and private trucks, according to the indictment. Granados allegedly handled the ring’s day-to-day operations, including the logistics of mailing drug parcels, sending drugs via trucks, and receiving drug proceeds sent back to California.
Estevan Ortiz, a.k.a. “Stevie” and “Wonder,” 39, of Hesperia, allegedly built hidden compartments in vehicles for the purpose of concealing narcotics and drug proceeds.
One defendant, Jonathan Darnell Carey, 41, of Dallas, Texas, mailed at least 36 kilograms (79.4 pounds) of cocaine from post offices in San Bernardino County to recipients in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and New York, according to the indictment. Carey also allegedly received a USPS parcel containing between $125,000 and $200,000 in drug proceeds on December 30, 2016 in Victorville, and a second parcel containing approximately $185,185 in drug proceeds on April 4, 2017. In addition to the drug distribution conspiracy count, Carey faces five additional charges of distribution of cocaine.
Bazan also is charged with knowingly distributing to Carey and another co-conspirator approximately 15 kilograms (33.1 pounds) of cocaine on March 31, 2017 in Riverside County, and with arranging the delivery of approximately 19 kilograms (41.9 pounds) of cocaine to another co-defendant on April 7, 2018. The cocaine was to be mailed to other states, the indictment alleges.
If convicted of all counts, the defendants would face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison and mandatory minimum sentences of at least 10 years in federal prison.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter was investigated by the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group 50 and the United States Postal Inspection Service. HIDTA Group 50 is comprised of members from the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS Criminal Investigation, CBP Air and Marine Operations, the Riverside Police Department, the Chino Police Department, the Ontario Police Department, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. This investigation was conducted with the support of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Victoria A. Degtyareva of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section.

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