Feds: 3 with ties to ex-SC sheriff’s case arrested

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say three Sumter men facing federal charges are tied to the drug conspiracy and racketeering case of a former South Carolina sheriff serving 17 years in prison. The Sumter Item reports Thursday that Matthew Yates, Christopher Maurice Oaks and Jerome Jay face charges from illegally using a telephone to cocaine possession. Former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin has been in federal prison since his November conviction on drug conspiracy and racketeering charges. During Melvin’s trial, another man testified he got worried when Melvin told him authorities thought he and Jay were dealing drugs. Larry Williams also said Melvin would remove his name from a list of suspected drug dealers for a fee and replace it with someone else’s name. Yates, Oaks and Jay are expected in court June 21. Information from: The Item, http://www.theitem.com (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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