COLUMBIA, S.C. – A South Carolina sheriff dealt drugs from his police SUV and when state and federal agents gave him a list of possible drug dealers in his county, he immediately started calling to tip them off or extort money to get them off the list, according to the FBI.

The FBI tapped then-Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin’s phone starting in March, and caught him saying he was going to arrange for a traffic stop on a drug dealer, take some of the cocaine he expected to find for himself and use the rest as evidence, according to a statement from an FBI agent released Monday.

Melvin was arrested Saturday and remained in jail Monday. Melvin resigned his office the day he was arrested.

Melvin and six others were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of powder cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine. If convicted, he could face up to life behind bars.

His family was stunned by Saturday’s arrest, but said they are confident he will be found innocent.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.