Former SC sheriff indicted on federal drug charges

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A federal grand jury has indicted a former South Carolina sheriff on drug charges.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said the indictment against former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin was unsealed on Monday after five additional defendants in the case were arrested.

Melvin is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of powder cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine. If convicted, he could get 10 years to life in prison.

Investigators say Melvin sold drugs from his sheriff's vehicle and tried to protect drug dealers from state and federal investigators.

Melvin's attorney refused to comment. His family has said he is innocent.

Twelve others are charged in the case.

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