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Moncks Corner man who killed intruder in self-defense jailed in federal drug conspiracy

April 1, 2017 GMT

The Moncks Corner man who police said defended his family last month by shooting an armed intruder to death has been jailed a second time in connection with a federal drug probe, court documents and officials said.

Justin Washington, 27, was free on bail in the federal case and confined to his house when a masked gunman broke into his home last month. With his wife and two children terrified, Washington shot the burglar four times, investigators said.

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Washington was not allowed to have a gun under the conditions of his release on a felony charge of conspiring to possess more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute. Federal authorities arrested him Tuesday, a Berkeley County sheriff’s spokesman said. He was expected to be transferred to Texas to face the federal charge.

His arrest is not expected to change officials’ ruling that Washington acted legally in self-defense when he killed 30-year-old Elijah Akeem White Jr.

In January 2016, a man identified as Washington’s cousin got in touch with someone in the Dallas area to set up a cocaine purchase, federal court paperwork stated. But the contact turned out to be a paid confidential informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The cousin and Washington showed up in Irving, Texas, one day that month and met with the informant, the charging documents stated. They agreed to buy 2 kilograms, or nearly 4½ pounds, of cocaine for between $24,000 and $26,000 per kilogram, the records said.

They met again in Dallas the next day and started riding together in a car to a location where the transaction was supposed to happen, the paperwork stated.

But federal agents were recording the rendezvous, and local police officers stopped the car. Washington and his cousin were arrested, and the agents reported finding a plastic bag with bundles of cash.

Days later, a federal magistrate judge allowed Washington’s release from jail but ordered him to stay in South Carolina on house detention unless he needed to travel to Texas to appear in court.

His trial was set for June. In the meantime, his attorneys were trying to work out a plea agreement.

Then on March 14, the Moncks Corner Police Department said this happened:

A woman knocked on the door of Washington’s Post Oak Circle home and spoke with his wife before waving at someone else. A man wearing a mask and gloves walked up, pointing a pistol with a laser sight.

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Washington’s wife closed the door, but White kicked through it. Washington fetched a gun and fatally shot White.

Police Chief Rick Ollic said White was carrying rope and likely planned to tie up Washington and the family. But the motive for the home invasion was not clear at the time. Ollic said on Friday that he still could not say if it was related to drugs.

“We still don’t know the motive, but I believe the residence was a targeted location,” he said. “It wasn’t random.”