A South Carolina man arrested for drug trafficking was discovered to have up 10,000 stolen guns in his home and in several trailers.
“None of us have ever seen anything anywhere close to this,” Sheriff Jay Brooks of Chesterfield County told WBTV.
More than 100 law enforcement officials raided the home of Brent Nicholson off Highway 9 outside the small town of Pageland on Oct. 23. Authorities were at the scene for at least two days and will now have to go through the entire armory “piece to piece” to find the rightful owner of each of the thousands of guns, estimated at between 7,000 and 10,000 firearms.
According to Brooks, the sheriff’s department seized guns, ammunition and hundreds of other items from a single property owned by Nicholson. Guns filled his home and multiple trailers. Hundreds more guns were also found at his parents’ house and at a liquor store he runs with his father.
“There were so many guns we quit counting after a while,” Brooks told the Charlotte Observer.
He added that there has been no evidence that the guns were even used.
Nicholson was arrested and charged with trafficking heroin and opium in Union County recently. Deputies reportedly went to serve him with a subpoena on Oct. 23 when they spotted stolen goods, which they had written reports for days earlier, in his front yard.
Later that night, the raid began. The raid is reportedly part of an ongoing investigation that involves multiple jurisdictions that could possibly have ties to several counties in North Carolina as well. Sheriffs from other jurisdictions were part of the raid, as well as South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Nicholson’s neighbor, Rusty Fender, said he has lived next door to Nicholson for his entire life and was never suspicious of him hoarding weapons.
“He’s always been a good cat, but you know, people do things,” he told WBTV.
Fender said he was frightened by the discovery and that the investigation has raised many questions.
“What was you thinking?” he asked. “Why was you collecting that many firearms? What was you planning on doing with them? I mean was you planning on starting a riot?”
Brooks said Nicholson “looks like a gun hoarder.” There was no evidence that the guns have been used or that he has been selling any of them.
“You know he just had 7,000 guns... 99.9 percent are hunting rifles and shot guns,” Brooks said.
In addition to the guns, Brooks said Nicholson also has a “menagerie” of stolen items, including 150 chainsaws, four-wheelers and taxidermy supplies.
Warrants have been drawn up for Nicholson’s father’s home, the family's liquor store and a farm he owned.