Co-defendant of ex-treasurer Ravenel free on $25,000 bail

COLUMBIA — One of former state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel's co-defendants in a federal cocaine case entered into a plea agreement Wednesday with federal authorities.

Michael Miller, who also goes by Hashmere and Hash and was previously described as a self-employed deejay, agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. Each count carries up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million, although the agreement indicates authorities would advocate that Miller receive a lighter sentence.

An additional seven cocaine distribution

charges against Miller, 25, of Mount Pleasant, were dropped as part of the agreement.

Neither Miller nor his public defender Langdon Long could immediately be reached for comment.

Miller's next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 13 in Columbia.

The case involving Ravenel, 45, and Miller became public in June when the men were indicted by a federal grand jury on cocaine charges. Authorities have said Miller sold Ravenel the drugs.

Ravenel, who resigned in July, confessed in September as part of a negotiated deal to using cocaine sporadically over the past two years and sharing it with friends.

As part of the agreements, both Ravenel and Miller admitted to being involved in the distribution of less than 100 grams of cocaine, down from the original charges involving five times that amount.

Ravenel, a multimillionaire Charleston real estate developer, remains free on $100,000 unsecured bond. He faces a maximum 20 years in prison and $1 million fine. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a reduced sentence. A date for his sentencing as not been set.

Miller is free on a $25,000 secured bond after spending months in the Charleston County Detention Center on a state drug trafficking charge that was later dropped.

A third co-defendant Pasquale Pellicoro, a Mount Pleasant wine merchant, remains at large after being indicted in September in the case. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

In a telephone interview on the day he was scheduled for arraignment, Pellicoro, an Italian citizen, told The Post and Courier he was in Switzerland.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Witherspoon said Wednesday Pellicoro has not made contact with federal agents since the days after his indictment.

"They're still looking for him," Witherspoon said. "I am very hopeful that we will find Mr. Pellicoro and bring him to justice."