Lancaster County men get federal prison time for heroin operation

Two Lancaster men were sentenced to federal prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to a 2014 heroin conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Joseph Shawn Chasteen, 26, and Cody Dean Howard, 20, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute more than 3.5 pounds of the drug in Lancaster County. U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs sentenced Chasteen to 10 years in prison and Howard to nine years.

Officers with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the State Law Enforcement Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in February 2014 went to a home in Indian Land that was suspected to be involved in a heroin distribution conspiracy, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbia. The investigation revealed that those involved in the conspiracy had obtained “a large quantity” of heroin in Charlotte and planned to distribute the heroin in Lancaster County.

Only a small amount of the heroin had been distributed when officers thwarted the conspiracy, after days of surveillance, officials said. Chasteen and Howard had more than 3.5 pounds of heroin and a sawed off shotgun when they were arrested.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson.

Teddy Kulmala •  803-329-4082