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Home  |  News  |  Three more arrested in former Lee Co. sheriff drug ring

Three more arrested in former Lee Co. sheriff drug ring
Thursday, May 19, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Three men, who prosecutors say played an active role in the former Lee County Sheriff's drug ring, are now under federal indictment. The FBI arrested Christopher Oaks, Matthew Yates, and Jerome "Disco" Jay and charged the men with multiple drug conspiracy charges and using a phone to conduct drug trades.

FBI agents arrested Yates and Oaks on March 22 and arrested Jay one week later. A federal judge set Yates' bond at $50,000, Oaks bond at $75,000 and order Jay to be held at the Lexington County Detention Center until his trial. All three pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors said Yates was the "main supplier" for Eric Hickmon. Hickmon was one of the drug dealers who paid former Sheriff EJ Melvin for protection from prosecutors. Hickmon pleaded guilty to his role in the sheriff's drug ring and is serving a 14 year sentence at the federal prison in Edgefield County.

The FBI placed a phone tap on Melvin's cell phone and monitored it for 30 days, from March 26 through April 24, 2010. Agents placed taps on Melvin's two closest dealers a month before. In hundreds of phone calls, investigators listened in as Melvin and his drug ring talked about extorting money from dealers who lived inside Lee County.

The phone counts Jerome Jay faces were made between March 20 and March 25, 2010. Yates faces 10 counts of using the telephone to deal drugs; calls that were made between March 22 and April 29, 2010.

A federal jury convicted Melvin on 47 counts on charges that included: running a drug conspiracy, money laundering, lying to the FBI, and using a phone to deal drugs, extortion. US District Court judge Cameron Currie sentenced Melvin to 17 years, 8 months in prison. Melvin is serving his time at a Beaumont, TX medium security prison.

The former two-term sheriff is scheduled for release March 26, 2026.

Source: http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=14668676

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