Prison escapee was hip-hop CEO and drug trafficker (Update: Employee fired)

Update December 2, 2011: Horry County released the following statement that gives slightly more detail on the escape. They have concluded their investigation into the procedural error which result in one employees termination.

Conway, South Carolina – On Monday, November 21, 2011, at approximately 5:00 p.m., inmate Charles Dwight Ransom was released from J. Reuben Long Detention Center after presenting himself to staff as another inmate by the name of Nathaniel Mack Martinez. Bond was posted Monday afternoon for the release of Nathaniel Martinez. Martinez was aware that his bond had been posted and removed his armband identification and gave it to Ransom. When an employee arrived at the housing unit to escort Martinez to the booking for release, Ransom responded and was escorted to the release area and was processed out.

The internal administrative investigation in to the events surrounding the escape has concluded and as a result, one staff member’s employment was terminated and the other staff member will be disciplined next week. The investigation revealed procedural errors made by staff and all have been corrected.

The Horry County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshall Service Fugitive Task Force are actively investigating the escape and as of the present time Ransom remains at large. Charles Ransom is described as a black male 5’ 10” tall weighing 200 pounds. He has a shaved head and wears a mustache and goatee. For more information, contact J. Reuben Detention Center Director Tom Fox at 843/222-4634.


Update November 29, 2011: Two employees at J. Reuben Long have been suspended as result of Charles Dwight Ransom's escape.

WMBF has more details. To date, no other media has reported on Ransom's past which includes access to large amounts of cash and celebrities. See the first report below for back story.


First Report: On Monday, November 21st, Charles Dwight Ransom walked out of J. Reuben Long Detention Center by simply swapping wristbands with his accomplice that had just posted bail. Ransom was caught up in a bust last year moving hundreds of kilograms of cocaine by private jet from Los Angeles to Baltimore.

152 It shouldn't have been that easy, according to officials at J. Reuben Long. Officers that processed Ransom's exit were supposed to use fingerprint and retina scanners to verify that the person being released was actually Nathaniel Mack Martinez instead of Charles Ransom. The Sun News has a good summary of the escape and the internal investigation that has been triggered by the mistake. Read that here.

This WMBF story hints to "ties to Maryland" and a few minutes of research brings up the details of Ransom's involvement as co-CEO of Behind Da Scenes Entertainment. The company is a hip-hop record label that was suspected as part of a money laundering operation for a lucrative cocaine supply chain feeding hundreds of pounds of cocaine from Mexico into Baltimore by way of Charles "CJ" Ransom's crew in Los Angeles. The Maryland City Paper has an excellent write-up of the November 2010 bust that involved millions of dollars in cash, celebrities, and $250,000 cars. Read it all here. 

Darrin Ebron, the other CEO of Behind Da Scenes, was identified as the large player of the "Snow Bird" bust,  but Charles Dwight Ransom was certainly a top level man in the operation. A story ran in the Washington Times in November 2010 that notes that Ransom was busted with over 100 pounds of cocaine while refueling his private chartered jet in Salinas, Kansas. Read that here. From the bust, the Feds seized almost 300 kilograms of cocaine, $1.1 million in cash and assets such as two 2010 Aston Martin Rapides ($200,000 MSRP) and various other luxury items. USA Today also had a write-up with more information about the celebrity ties. That is here. Ebron lived in the same gated community as Dr. Dre. 

Nothing significant turned up on research of Nathaniel Mack Martinez's involvement. It's possible Ransom offered Martinez some serious incentives to swap wristbands and take the aiding and abetting rap for doing so. Ransom is still a fugitive, but local authorities believe he has certainly left Horry County by now. (Maybe he took a private jet?)

"Paypa" (pronounced like Paper) was the only artist that Behind da Scenes Entertainment was known to represent. Just before the Snow Bird bust, Paypa signed with Universal Records. Here's video of escapee Charles Ransom literally signing a record deal with Paypa:

Paypa was interviewed by Gowhere Radio shortly after the bust and was asked his take on things. Read and hear that here (around the 14:00 mark in the audio).

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Below are a few of Paypa's videos. Charles "CJ" Ransom is given Executive Producer credit on several of the videos. The first video, "Over", actually has Ransom in the video and is where the main photo from this story was taken.

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