Claude Simpson held with no bond on federal detention charges


A walk in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs is familiar to Claude Simpson. He’s done it many times before.

A federal prosecutor told a judge the accused drug dealer’s rap sheet, which dates back to 1979, is laced with more than 30 convictions that range from drugs, theft, and forgery cases. On Thursday, Simpson faced a judge in federal court for possession with intent to distribute heroin.

“This is death on a stick, it’s death in a spoon – please don’t put this in your body,” Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said.

He’s explains just how deadly a hit of heroin and fentanyl can be.

“You take a teaspoon and you take three grams of salt- the equivalent of some of the fentanyl subgroups are deadly enough if you put that much fentanyl in your body, it will stop your heart, stop your lungs, it will kill you,” Clevenger said.

In court, a narcotics agent with Spartanburg Police took the stand and said Simpson told his buyers, “I have some strong heroin.”

According to a federal complaint, Simpson says he sold half a gram to a woman and her sister for $80. Investigators found one of them dead at Simpson’s home in February.

“You really don’t know what you’re getting,” Clevenger said.

The prosecutor says five days later one of Simpson’s buyers heard about the woman’s death and requested the strong heroin and bought it from him. That man later called 911 where investigators found his sister dead in an apartment.

“It is tragic, it is bad,” Clevenger said.

However, the prosecutor asked a judge to hold Simpson with no bond. A judge granted the detention and in a written decision stated, “The government’s evidence here shows that the defendant distributed drugs to two individuals who overdosed and died. He is a danger to the community.”

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