Charleston Drug Dealer Known as “Mean Man” Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison

(STL.News) – United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr., announced today that Terrell Montez Benjamin, a/k/a “Mean Man,” 30, of Charleston, was sentenced to ten years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Evidence presented to the court showed that in the Spring of 2018, police officers from the Charleston Police Department and special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began investigating an armed drug trafficking organization operating in the Charleston City housing project in the Gadsden Green neighborhood.  Law enforcement captured drug transactions being conducted in multiple apartments in the housing complex.

On September 4, 2018, Benjamin, who was one of five defendants indicted and convicted in connection with the investigation of this drug trafficking organization, was captured on video selling crack cocaine with another member of the drug trafficking organization. In October, authorities raided another nearby apartment the organization was using and discovered large quantities of drugs and multiple firearms.  Benjamin has a lengthy criminal history, including numerous prior convictions for distributing crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana and for possessing firearms.  He was released from prison in June 2018, after serving time for a drug conviction, and quickly returned to his old ways.

Benjamin ultimately pleaded guilty and was held responsible for the drugs that he sold on September 4, 2018.

United States District Judge Richard Gergel sentenced Benjamin to 120 months in federal prison, to be followed by a six-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the ATF and the Charleston Police Department.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.  Assistant United States Attorneys Chris Schoen and Charlie Bourne of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.