Racer’s bond rises $150,000

By HOLLY GATLING
State Staff Writer

A federal magistrate has imposed an additional $150,000 bond on race car driver Johnny T. Dowey, who now faces cocaine distribution charges in both state and federal courts.

Last week, Dowey posted $50,000 in cash on a $500,000 bond after he was arrested on state charges. He was accused of trafficking in 9 ounces of cocaine, which investigators allege he sold to an undercover agent on three occasions.

Dowey, 43, was released from the Richland County Detention Center on Wednesday but was served with federal warrants Friday and reincarcerated at the jail.

Both the state and the federal governments have “concurrent jurisdiction” in drug-trafficking cases, but federal authorities declined Monday to explain why they had Dowey arrested after his release on state bond last week.

U. S. Magistrate Cameron M. Currie told Dowey on Monday that he could secure the $150,000 federal bond with family property or pay a corporate surety company to secure the bond. But she said she would not allow him to post his own assets as collateral.

“I feel like a man is less likely to run if he knows his brother or sister would lose their house,” she said.

If Dowey elects to have a corporate surety, he must disclose the source used to pay the company’s fee, she said.

There is no requirement in state court to disclose the source of bail money.

Dowey estimated the value of his construction business, Carolina Wrecking and Hauling Co., at $250,000 with about $47,000 in outstanding debts.

The company has the contract to clean up the stie of the old Wade Hampton Hotel, which was imploded last month.

One of the alleged drug transactions involved 1 ounce of cocaine and occured Sept. 6 at the hotel site at the corner of Main and Gervais streets, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron B. Littlejohn.

Another sale involving 1 ounce of cocaine occurred Sept. 5 at Calhoun and Bull streets, Littlejohn said.

The third sale, in which only the state courts currently have jurisdiction, involved 7 ounces of cocaine and occured Sept. 10 in the wood off U. S. 321 north of Columbia.

Dowey said he is divesting himself of his interest in the Blaney Drag Strip near Elgin, which he has leased for 10 years.

The owners, Ed and Sandra Smith, said last week that they will not renew the lease and have plans to develop the property.

Dave Massey, one of Dowey’s attorneys at the hearing, questioned why the federal government issued additional charges and complained that his client was bing “double-bonded.”

“Mr. Dowey was out on bail on this exact incident. I don’t know why the charges were brought to the federal court,”Massey said.

He asked Judge Currie to set a minimum bond, saying his client “has a lot of roots” in the Columbia area.

“If he were intent on leaving the jurisdiction, he could have done so between Wednesday and Friday” of last week, Massey said.

“He owns a successful construction company. He employs a lot of people. I don’t think we can assume that because he has a successful construction business that it’s drug related,” he said.

When questioned about any past arrest, Dowey denied having a criminal record.

But U. S. Probation and Parole Officer Larry White showed the judge a computer print-out that indicated Dowey was arrested and fined $25 in 1965 for carrying an unlawful weapon in Columbia, an arrest for public drunkeness in which he forfeited his bond, an arrest in 1977 for operating a drag strip on Sunday and two charges of issuing fraudulent check. The record indicated no disposition for the Sunday drag strip operation or the check charges.

After questioning him about his property and assets, including the construction company and real estate, Judge Currie asked Dowey whether he owned any other property valued at more than $5,000. He said he did not.

Littlejohn countered, however, that Dowey reportedly was wearing large quantities of gold and diamond jewelry when he was arrested Sept. 10 off U. S. 321north of Columbia. And he questioned Dowey’s assets in the Blaney Drag Strip.

Dowey said he “got rid of all my racing cars.”and he acknowledged that for the past 10 years, he has been collecting gold jewelry he valued at about $6,000.

Littlejohn said that investigation is being conducted by the U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the U. S. Attorney’s Office, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Officer.

Agent Jim Kegley said that ATF is involved because the agency is preparing charges of gun law violations in a related investigation. Kegley said those charges will be presented later, but he declined to give further details.

September 17, 1985  State (published as The State)  
Columbia, South Carolina
Page 36
September 17, 1985  State (published as The State)  
Columbia, South Carolina
Page 40

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