The investigation into former state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel's cocaine use is wrapping up, and there might be one more person charged, a federal prosecutor said Monday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore said one additional individual could be prosecuted in the government's examination of cocaine use that brought down Ravenel and probed Charleston's bar and glamour scene.
Moore declined to name the last impending target but did say charges could come in the next 60 days.
His comments followed a hearing at the federal courthouse in Charleston where French national Pascal Etcheber, the fourth and last person charged in the investigation so far, was given a new court-appointed lawyer.
Etcheber faces a total of six charges, including five new allegations that surfaced in recent days. His bond hearing was put on hold Monday until he and his new lawyer, John Barton of Columbia, can speak.
Etcheber, 46, originally was arrested in March and accused of a single count lying to the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement about his knowledge of drug activities around Charleston.
He had been free on $250,000 bail with a stipulation of electronic monitoring and the loss of his passport, until his arrest last week.
Two of the new charges involve Etcheber allegedly trying to influence or prevent a witness from testifying. Those charges stem from a Sept. 18 incident and reportedly are based on e-mails sent to a former girlfriend.
Two of the other charges cover what Moore described as knowingly "operating a stash house" where cocaine was kept and used.
The last of the five new charges covers an allegation that he made false statements in connection to an Aug. 26 court appearance where he sought to alter the conditions of his bond.
If convicted of all the charges, Etcheber faces up to 70 years behind bars but would likely be sentenced to much less.
Etcheber briefly tried to speak in court Monday but was advised not to by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant. He later said he only wanted to help with his defense as soon as possible.
Prior to his arrest, Etcheber, who has been identified as a highly educated business consultant and author, was involved in Ravenel's social circle. He also was a close friend of Pasquale Pellicoro, another target in the investigation who fled the state after he was indicted in August 2007. He is believed to be living in Europe.
Etcheber is being housed at the Charleston County Detention Center. Some discussion surfaced at Monday's hearing that he might be moved to a holding facility in the Columbia area so he could be closer to his attorney. Also, U.S. District Judge Joe Anderson, who is overseeing the Ravenel case, is there as well.
Ravenel, once a shining star among state Republicans, served 10 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine. He resigned his post in July 2007 following a state and federal investigation just eight months after he was elected. He ended his home detention earlier this year and has kept a low profile since.
A third man, deejay Michael L. Miller, who went by the street slang name "Hashmere" and was believed to be Ravenel's cocaine supplier, also was sentenced to 10 months in a federal prison.