FBI: Ex-SC sheriff dealt drugs from police SUV

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Federal authorities say a South Carolina sheriff dealt drugs from his police SUV and extorted money from drug dealers to try to keep them out of trouble.

In a sworn statement released on Monday, an FBI agent said investigators have a witness who saw former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin dealing drugs in November 2006.

Authorities tapped Melvin's phone and say he offered money to drug dealers to try to get state and federal agents to stop investigating them.

Melvin and six others were arrested Saturday and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of powder cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine.

Melvin's attorney declined comment, and his brother says he is innocent. The ex-sheriff will remain in jail until a Wednesday bond hearing.

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