Local and federal authorities are saying little about the arrests Wednesday of six Beaufort residents on warrants issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Frank Babecki, 24; Hunter Banks Coates, 19; Desiree Constantineau, 25; Randall Gilbert Smith, 28; Sam Langford, 32; and M.C. Williams, 43, were arrested by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, DEA agents and U.S. marshals on unspecified charges, according to the county jail log.
A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman referred questions on the arrests to Sue Allen, resident agent in charge of the Charleston DEA office. Allen, in turn, directed inquiries to Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Phillips of Charleston, who is prosecuting the case.
Phillips confirmed that all six were arrested on DEA warrants but said he won't comment until after the defendants appear at a hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. today at a federal courthouse in Charleston.
"Right now, the indictment against these individuals is under seal," Phillips said. "We anticipate there being an appearance for them in federal court, at which time the indictment will be unsealed."
He declined to say whether others might be charged in the case.
All six remained jailed Wednesday night at the Beaufort County Detention Center awaiting transport to Charleston.
Phillips declined to say whether the arrests were linked to a DEA investigation of Dr. David Vincent Rhodes, a Beaufort physician who was placed on an indefinite leave of absence from Lowcountry Medical Group in May after news broke that he was at the center of a government inquiry.
Rhodes was not among those charged Wednesday and does not face any other pending criminal charges, according to local and federal court records.