SC murder suspect arrested with 2 others in Rowland drug bust

ROWLAND — The Robeson County District Attorney’s Office followed a tip to a Rowland motel and the capture of a man wanted for violating his release terms ahead of a South Carolina murder trial.

Erich Hackney, investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, along with Rowland police, found Mathis Jerrum McLaughlin at a motel in Rowland late Friday night. McLaughlin, 27, was wanted for violating his pre-trial release conditions after being charged with the 2012 murder of Everardo Fuentes in Dillon, South Carolina. He was also wanted on three felony counts of first-degree distribution of narcotics after allegedly selling drugs to informants at Dillon motels in August 2015.

In the Rowland motel motel room, officers found marijuana, MDA, pills, small baggies, pipes, digital scales, a rolling paper machine, cash and a 9 mm handgun. MDA is an amphetamine.

McLaughlin and two other people in the room — Cedric Devon Nelson, 36, of Dillon, and Ashleigh Rashawn Govan, 25, of Hamer, South Carolina — were each charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver MDA/MDMA, possession with intent to sell or deliver methodone, possession with intent to sell or deliver alprazolam, possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana, conspiracy to sell or deliver marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. McLaughlin was also charged with being a fugitive from justice and with felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

All three were jailed at the Robeson County Detention Center, McLaughlin under a $700,000 bond and Nelson and Govan each under a $75,000 bond. McLaughlin refused to waive extradition to South Carolina. Govan is also wanted by authorities in Marion County, South Carolina, for possession of cocaine, Hackney said.

After receiving a tip on July 20 concerning McLaughlin’s whereabouts, Hackney learned through the National Crime Information Center that McLaughlin was wanted for violating his pre-trial release terms and that he “should be considered dangerous and malicious.”

Hackney said McLaughlin initially fled into the bathroom of the motel room, but was then arrested without incident.

“From everything we seized inside the motel room, including documents indicating the names of those who bought drugs as well as the amounts, it was obvious this was a large scale drug distribution point for people in and around the Rowland and Dillon area,” Hackney said.

The Dillon County Sheriff’s Office, Rowland Police Department, Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and SC Law Enforcement Division assisted in this investigation.

Fuentes was found fatally shot on March 26, 2012, behind a building in Dillon County. McLaughlin was charged with his murder about a week later, along with criminal conspiracy and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. The South Carolina trial was slated to begin in September 2014, but was continued, according to The Morning News in Florence.

Cedric Nelson

Cedric Nelson

Mathis McLaughlin

Mathis McLaughlin

Ashleigh Govan

Ashleigh Govan

By Sarah Willets

[email protected]


Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.


comments powered by Disqus