Convicted drug dealer testifies against fmr. Lee Co. Sheriff - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Convicted drug dealer testifies against fmr. Lee Co. Sheriff

By Jody Barr - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin's drug conspiracy trial continued Tuesday with the man who turned the FBI onto the sitting sheriff four years ago. That man is a convicted drug dealer, who is now testifying against Melvin.

Melvin walked into federal court Tuesday waving to an admirer. Melvin also walked into testimony from a man the FBI used to open its case against the sitting sheriff.
     
Quinten Davis, convicted of dealing drugs in Lee County last year, is serving a 10-year sentence. Davis told the jury that Melvin started extorting money from him three years ago to help him with drug charges.
     
He also told the jury drug dealers in Lee County had to pay dues to Melvin in order to keep selling drugs there. In all, Davis told the jury he paid Melvin at least $2,000 in drug money to keep prosecutors away.
     
The second witness, David Ruth, is the man prosecutors say Melvin ran a two-year kickback scheme with. That scheme happened inside the sheriff's office, where prosecutors say Melvin and Ruth agreed to overcharge the county for waxing and buffing the floors.

Ruth told jurors that he gave Melvin a price to do the work, and Melvin told him to make the bills out for $300 more for Melvin's cut of the kickback. Ruth told the jury he didn't think he was doing anything wrong.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a drug dealer arrested with Melvin back in may took the stand to testify against the former sheriff. Eric Hickmon pleaded guilty to a role in a drug conspiracy ring that Melvin is being tried in.
     
Hickmon is one of the two dealers the FBI placed wire taps on when agents say they caught Melvin extorting drug dealers. Hickmon's testimony will start day three of the Melvin trial Wednesday morning.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved.

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