Alex Murdaugh indicted for alleged drug trafficking scheme with would-be hitman peddling opioids

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The embattled South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh has newly been accused of money laundering as part of an alleged drug trafficking ring, as prosecutors say through another indictment against the once-respectable legal scion that he conspired with his alleged would-be hitman to sell oxycodone. 

Over the course of eight years, Murdaugh wrote at least 437 checks to Curtis Edward Smith, a former personal injury legal client and distant cousin, totaling approximately $2.4 million, according to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. From October 7, 2013, through February 28, 2021, Murdaugh made the hundreds of checks out to Smith for individual amounts of less than $10,000 each to avoid being flagged by banks, which are required by law to report large currency transactions. 

Smith then allegedly converted the checks to cash, sometimes forging the endorsements of associates without their knowledge or consent, in order to facilitate the acquisition or distribution of illegally obtained narcotics, as well as to benefit Murdaugh and conceal or disguise the “nature, location, sources, ownership, or control” of the proceeds from a “myriad of unlawful activities.” 

The indictment stresses that the alleged scheme involved “narcotics, dangerous drugs, or controlled substances” and such crime was “multi-county in nature and having transpired and having significance in more than one county in this state and such conduct having not been authorized by law.” 

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Murdaugh and Smith are each charged with two conspiracy counts including a narcotics count related to Oxycodone. Smith was indicted for four counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery, trafficking methamphetamine in the amount of between 10-28 grams, one count of unlawful possession of a schedule II controlled substance, and possession of marijuana.

Alex Murdaugh appeared in a new mugshot following his arrest in Orlando, on charges in connection to housekeeper Gloria Satterfield insurance settlements.

Alex Murdaugh appeared in a new mugshot following his arrest in Orlando, on charges in connection to housekeeper Gloria Satterfield insurance settlements. (Orange County Corrections)

This makes 62-year-old Smith’s first indictment from a state grand jury, though he was previously indicted by a Hampton County grand jury in November on charges relating to an alleged Labor Day weekend botched suicide plot. Murdaugh allegedly arranged for Smith to shoot him dead on the side of the road, so that his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, could collect on a $10 million life insurance policy. 

Smith also had been previously indicted by a grand jury in Colleton County on November 18, 2021, for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana.

In the alleged suicide-for-hire scheme gone wrong, Murdaugh allegedly was only grazed by a bullet to the head, was airlifted to a hospital, and was later released on his own recognizance. 

This photo from the Colleton County Sheriff's Office shows Curtis Edward Smith. 

This photo from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office shows Curtis Edward Smith.  ((Colleton County Sheriffs Office via AP, File))

Murdaugh, whose family also controlled the local prosecutor’s office for generations, was allowed to receive treatment for what his lawyers claimed to be a decades-long opioid addiction at separate drug rehabilitation facilities in Georgia and Florida. 

The shooting happened a day after partners at the prominent personal injury law firm that Murdaugh’s great-grandfather founded a century ago confronted Murdaugh for allegedly stealing millions of dollars.

He wasn’t taken into custody again until October on new charges alleging that he defrauded the sons of his longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, of $4.3 million. 

Alex Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing on Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, S.C. 

Alex Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing on Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, S.C.  ( (AP Photo/Mic Smith, File))

The 57-year-old housekeeper died at a hospital in February 2018 weeks after an alleged trip and fall accident on steps at Murdaugh’s home.

Earlier this month, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said agents received permission from Satterfield’s family exhume her body, as an autopsy was never conducted and the death certificate listed the manner of death as natural, inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident. 

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The one-year anniversary of the mysterious double murders of Murdaugh’s college sweetheart wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, passed weeks ago on June 7 still without any arrests made. Murdaugh dialed 911 to report finding the two shot to death near dog kennels on the family’s sprawling 1,700-acre Moselle estate in rural Colleton County. 

As of Tuesday, through 16 indictments containing 81 charges, the state grand jury has indicted Murdaugh for schemes to defraud victims, including the family of his dead housekeeper, a deaf quadriplegic man and a highway patrolman injured in the line of duty, of $8,492,888.31.

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