Lee County Sheriff arrested on drug charges

LEE COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Lee County Sheriff Edgar Jerome "E.J." Melvin was arrested by the FBI Saturday morning on drug charges.

Melvin along with Brenda Ellerby, Antonio Holloman, Larry Williams, Eric Andre Hickman, Anthony Williams and Sheldon Bradley, all of Bishopville were arrested on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack. The charges date back to 2006.

The maximum penalty each defendant could receive is life imprisonment and a fine of $4 million dollars.  Federal statutes also call for mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment for at least ten years.

Mr. McDonald stated, "The law-abiding people of Lee County expect their Sheriff to likewise observe and uphold the law.  When he fails to do that, and indeed commits crimes as we have alleged in this case, the citizens are his victims.  Lee County taxpayers certainly don't deserve corrupt law enforcement in exchange for their tax dollars."

FBI Special Agent in Charge David Tomas stated, "The vast majority of public officials – both elected and appointed – are honest in their work and committed to serving their fellow citizens. Unfortunately, a small percentage abuse the public trust.  Public corruption is different from other crimes. It does not just strike at the heart of good government – it can strike at the security of our communities and our nation.  Public corruption erodes public confidence, and undermines the strength of our democracy."

SLED Director Reggie Lloyd stated, "When a law enforcement officer uses his official position to advance a criminal purpose, his community suffers.  We must act swiftly and decisively to remove corrupt officers, and restore the public's faith in law enforcement.  SLED is committed to working with our federal partners to root out public corruption at all levels, but particularly in law enforcement."

Mr. McDonald stated that additional arrests are expected in the case, which was investigated by the FBI and SLED.  Assistance on the arrests this morning was provided by the Florence County Sheriff's Department.