Originally created 11/23/04

Across South Carolina

Cutter returns home after cocaine patrol

CHARLESTON - The Charleston-based Coast Guard cutter Gallatin returned home Monday after a two-month patrol in the Caribbean during which it seized an estimated $928 million worth of cocaine.

The cutter, deployed with a helicopter based in Jacksonville, Fla., stopped seven speed boats trying to smuggle more than 29,000 pounds of cocaine. In all, 33 people were arrested.

During the patrol, the Gallatin operated with two U.S. Navy frigates, three other Coast Guard cutters and four foreign naval ships from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France.

Carolina Beach Music performers awarded

MYRTLE BEACH - The Rickey Godfrey Band took home awards for best group album, song and group at the Carolina Beach Music Awards, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

Craig Woolard received awards for best male vocalist, entertainer and collaboration at the five-hour awards show Sunday.

The awards show, beach music's version of the Grammy Awards, also featured live appearances by Percy Sledge and Bill Pinkney of the Drifters.

Polluted Reedy River may reopen to public

GREENVILLE - With a little luck and its conservation fund left intact, a stretch of the Reedy River polluted eight years ago by thousands of gallons of diesel fuel could once again be open for public use, conservationists say.

If all goes as some groups plan, the public will one day use the hardest hit 23-mile stretch to canoe, fish and even swim.

A few strings come with a $3 million chunk of the settlement with Colonial Oil, the company which spilled 950,000 gallons of fuel into the river in 1996, killing 35,000 fish and turning the river lime green.

The money has been set aside to either buy property from private landowners or purchase "conservation easements" that limit what they could build along the river.

Purchases would have to be approved by the state Department of Natural Resources board, the Joint Bond Review Committee and the state Budget and Control Board, officials said.

Man gets 30 years for dogfighting

GREENWOOD - A Charleston County man whom prosecutors call the No. 2 breeder of fighting pit bulls in the United States was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison for dogfighting and assault charges.

David Tant pleaded guilty earlier in the day, ending his trial. Mr. Tant was originally charged with 41 counts of dogfighting and with assault and battery with intent to kill after authorities said a railroad company surveyor was shot in the leg when he tripped on a trap on Mr. Tant's Charleston County property in April.

Circuit Court Judge Wyatt Saunders sentenced Mr. Tant to 10 years for creating the booby trap that injured the surveyor and 20 years on four counts of criminal animal fighting.

The trial had been moved from Charleston to Greenwood County because of pretrial publicity.


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