Sheriffs' Association: 'Nobody is Above the Law'

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina has seen a lot of corruption with our sheriffs in the past few years.

Since 2010, eight sheriffs in South Carolina have faced criminal charges, the latest being Lexington County Sheriff James Metts.

Federal prosecutors indicted him Tuesday after they say he took bribes.

"I've been the executive director for 32 years, Jimmy Metts recruited me for this job," Executive Director of South Carolina Sheriff's' Association Jeff Moore said.

Moore says rumors of criminal charges against Lexington County Sheriff James Metts have been swirling for years.

"I was not surprised by the indictment but I was surprised by what was in the indictment."

Prosecutors say Metts took the money to interfere with the proper identification and processing of illegal immigrants at the Lexington County Jail.

Of the eight sheriffs to face charges, three have been in the Midlands.

In 2010, former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin was charged with drug conspiracy. He was convicted after prosecutors showed jurors that he sold drugs from his sheriff's vehicle and tried to protect drug dealers from state and federal investigators.

In 2012, former Saluda Sheriff Jason Booth plead guilty to using a state prison inmate to do work on his home and property for nearly six years.

"I will say the criminal justice system has worked just as it is supposed to and that includes the previous sheriff's who have plead guilty and or been found guilty at trial," said Moore.

"It boils down to arrogance sometimes. The fact that they have been there a long time they think they are so popular that if they are seen doing something wrong nobody will care or that they have been there so long that they are invisible," said Moore.

Moore says Sheriff Metts did a lot of good over the past 40 years, but believes the system will sort things out.

"Nobody is above the law and certainly the sheriff isn't either. Let's let the system run it's course and see what the end result is."


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