Alex Murdaugh's drug associates sentenced. What about Curtis Edward 'Cousin Eddie' Smith?

The tragic, criminal saga of disgraced former Hampton attorney Alex Murdaugh has been a story of surprising scale and depth, encompassing millions of stolen dollars, scores of victims, and a handful of known accomplices in a murderous web of conspiracy now etched in South Carolina's history books.

Just as Murdaugh has fallen—convicted of murder and multiple fraud charges and sentenced to life plus 27 years — so have his associates, which range from a former banker and a fellow disbarred lawyer to men with known street gang and drug connections.

Two of Murdaugh's white-collar henchmen reside in federal prisons, and now two of his known drug associates have been sentenced to state prison, while one remaining suspect has yet to face his day in court.

Jerry Rivers, at left, during a recent status conference hearing in Hampton County.
Jerry Rivers, at left, during a recent status conference hearing in Hampton County.

Jerry Rivers sentenced for involvement in Alex Murdaugh drug dealings, other crimes

On Monday, Feb. 12, in Hampton County General Sessions Court, Judge Clifton Newman sentenced Jerry K. Rivers, 41, of Walterboro, to a total of seven years, with credit for 230 days served, plus restitution, the payment of which was deferred until a later date.

On Aug. 16, 2022, the S.C. State Grand Jury indicted Rivers on only one initial charge, one count of obstruction of justice. Rivers and another suspect, Spencer Roberts, were indicted along with Murdaugh.

In that original charge, Rivers was accused of illegally taking a cell phone belonging to another person who had been arrested on Aug. 10, 2020, and hiding it from law enforcement in connection with a multi-county narcotics distribution ring involving Murdaugh.

According to the S.C. Attorney General's Office, during the investigation into Murdaugh's decade-long financial crime spree, Rivers was also hit with other charges, including fraud charges related to COVID pandemic unemployment scams, insurance fraud and drug distribution crimes - namely selling opioid pills to another Murdaugh associate, Curtis Edward Smith, who then provided them to Murdaugh.

On Aug. 17, 2023, Rivers pleaded guilty to multiple fraud, money laundering, drug charges, and other crimes in Kershaw County before Judge Newman, who was assigned all of the Murdaugh S.C. State Grand Jury criminal cases.

Altogether, Rivers pleaded guilty to charges of distribution of a controlled substance second offense Schedule II Narcotic (Roxicodone & Oxycodone), obstruction of justice, money laundering, computer crime and two counts of false statements or false representation.

The maximum sentence on the drug charges alone was 30 years, but in exchange for his guilty plea, the state agreed to sentence him to no less than five and no more than 20 years and to dismiss 13 other criminal charges against Rivers.

In court last year, Rivers claimed that he did not know Murdaugh and had never met him, according to multiple media outlets in the Kershaw area.

Spencer Roberts, at right, during a recent status conference hearing in Hampton County.
Spencer Roberts, at right, during a recent status conference hearing in Hampton County.

Spencer Roberts sentenced, struck with new indictments

Spencer Anwan Roberts, 37, of Walterboro, who was indicted in 2022 on money laundering, fraud, computer crimes and obtaining property under false pretenses related to Murdaugh's enterprises, and later pleaded guilty to those charges, was sentenced last Monday in Hampton to a total of eight years, with credit for time served, and $15,000 restitution.

However, that isn't the end of the criminal justice road for Roberts, as additional charges have since been filed.

On Dec. 14, Roberts was indicted on distribution of narcotics charges and money laundering charges of more than $100K, the S.C. Attorney General's Office released last week.

Roberts is charged with distributing Roxicodone/Oxycodone between 2019 and 2021 in crimes of a "multi-county nature," stated the indictments.

Roberts is also accused in Murdaugh's conspiracy to "accept, structure, and cash" checks as part of a money laundering/drug distribution scheme. During 12 months in 2020 and 2021, Roberts allegedly laundered a total of 32 checks which totaled more than $160,000, according to the indictments.

Roberts has not entered a plea on the additional pending charges.

Curtis Edward Smith during a recent interview with Dateline NBC.
Curtis Edward Smith during a recent interview with Dateline NBC.

What happened to Curtis Edward 'Cousin Eddie' Smith?

Curtis Edward Smith, indicted in late 2021 on drug and money laundering charges, as well as charges related to Murdaugh's September 2021 roadside shooting insurance scam, remains on bond and house arrest in rural Colleton County.

Like Roberts and Rivers, Smith was allegedly a cog in Murdaugh's drug distribution network and an alleged frequent check casher in the money laundering schemes.

However, Smith's attorney has indicated in previous interviews that her client is fully cooperating with the Murdaugh-related investigations.

"The charges are still pending on Curtis Edward Smith, but there are no hearings or trial dates yet," stated Robert Kittle, spokesperson for the S.C. Attorney General's Office, on Thursday.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Alex Murdaugh's drug dealers sentenced. What about Curtis Eddie Smith?