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Police: Rock Hill drug dealer, illegal tattoo artist arrested

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/14/08/19/137-oLJDE.Em.6.jpeg|236
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    Rafael Ariel Renta
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/14/08/16/138-AhCbt.Em.6.jpeg|236
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    James Arnette Stafford

York County drug enforcement officers on Wednesday night confiscated $8,000 worth of marijuana and arrested four people at a Rock Hill home where a 25-year-old man was killed in January during a drug deal.

The bust happened at 1167 Cedar Grove Lane just off Cherry Road, police say. Officers searched the home after pulling over a suspected marijuana drug dealer who had just received a package from California with two pounds of marijuana inside, police say.

Officers with the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit stopped Rafeal Renta, 19, on Ebenezer Road in his car around 5 p.m. after receiving a tip from the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office about the marijuana, said Marvin Brown, commander of the narcotics unit.

From there, authorities went to Renta's Cedar Grove Lane home, where Rock Hill Police detectives say Michael Giddens was shot to death earlier this year by an alleged gang member who went to the house to buy drugs.

After Giddens' death, local police arrested Abbudul Emmanuel, 19, and two others. Last month, Emmanuel pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, armed robbery, criminal conspiracy and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Wednesday night, police say they found 175 grams of marijuana and marijuana hash oil cooking on a hot plate in the same house where Giddens was shot and killed. Renta was arrested Wednesday on several drug charges and police have levied a total of 20 charges against the four people they say live at the Cedar Grove Lane home.

Renta and Giddens were roommates, Brown said. In January, Rock Hill Police said Giddens wasn't the drug dealer that Emmanuel and others sought to buy marijuana from. But, detectives say Giddens had a sawed-off shotgun in his hand at the time he was killed.

Rock Hill Police told The Herald on Thursday that two other men were at home in January when Giddens was shot but none of the witnesses in the house then were arrested by narcotics officers on Wednesday.

Now, Renta is accused of distributing marijuana and manufacturing hash oil.

Another man arrested on Wednesday with Renta – James Arnette Stafford, Jr., age 20 – is also accused of having marijuana and manufacturing hash oil, according to police. Brown says drug unit officers also saw Stafford giving a 16-year-old a tattoo on Wednesday night and have charged him with contributing to deliquency of a minor.

Police have accused Stafford of giving the teenager marijuana just before starting the illegal tattoo session.

Officers seized the home tattoo kit, drugs and a pistol from the house on Wednesday. Brown says they had been investigating Renta on the suspicion that he was selling marijuana in Rock Hill.

Prior to Renta’s arrest, undercover cops had purchased marijuana from him, Brown said.

Also Wednesday, police arrested Charles Reuben Mobley, 18, and Kayla Cheyenne Thompson, 18, on drug charges, Brown said.

All four people arrested at the Cedar Grove Lane home are being held at the Moss Justice Detention Center in York. Renta and Mobley are being held without bond, according to the York County Sheriff's Office website.

Stafford's bond has been set at $29,000. Thompson's bond has been set at $5,000, according to the website.

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