SC

Rural SC Gun Bust: Questions Raised

NOTHING IS ADDING UP …  Last month, Sheriff’s deputies in scandal-scarred Chesterfield County, S.C. made national news when they seized an estimated 10,000 guns from a residence near Pageland, S.C. Working in concert with the agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol,…

NOTHING IS ADDING UP … 

Last month, Sheriff’s deputies in scandal-scarred Chesterfield County, S.C. made national news when they seized an estimated 10,000 guns from a residence near Pageland, S.C.

Working in concert with the agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF),  the lawmen claim to have descended on the property in response to a “tip.”

In the aftermath of the raid, Chesterfield County sheriff Jay Brooks announced the arrest of 51-year-old Brent Nicholson of Union County, N.C. for possession of stolen property.

Nicholson – who ran a liquor store in the area – had recently been arrested in North Carolina in connection with opium and heroin trafficking.

The drama went down on Friday, October 23.  On that date, according to one mainstream media news outlet, “deputies went to serve (Nicholson) with a subpoena.”  That’s when they claim to have “noticed what appeared to be stolen goods in his front yard.”

At this point, the cavalry was called in … with upwards of a hundred law enforcement personnel converging on the scene.

Police have hailed the gun bust as a major victory – not to mention a breakthrough in numerous other criminal cases.

“No telling how many break-ins this will help wrap up,” Brooks said at the time.

Is that true, though?

We’ve received troubling reports from sources close to the raid – and equally troubling silence from those involved in carrying it out.

***

INMATE ALLEGATIONS RESURFACE

Less than 24 hours after the Pageland raid went down, sources at the Chesterfield County Detention Center tell FITS something unusual happened.  Beginning on Saturday, October 24 a Chesterfield deputy sheriff reportedly “requested and received into his custody ten inmates.”

What for?

According to one of our sources, the inmates were provided to the sheriff “as labor for sorting and packing guns, ammo and other stolen items associated with the gun bust that is ongoing in Pageland.”

Inmates handling loaded weapons?

Hold up … is that legal?  No.  Not without a judge’s order, anyway.

In fact, FITS readers may recall the last Chesterfield County sheriff – Sam Parkerwas indicted for using inmate labor for work on private property (news of which broke exclusively on this website).

Anyway, five of the ten inmates reportedly released to the sheriff in the Pageland gun case were convicted felons – yet they were alleged to have been permitted to “(handle) evidence including loaded and unloaded guns.”

Chesterfield’s jailer – Sheila Gillespie – was reportedly out of town at the time the inmates were released.  According to our sources, though, she raised holy hell about the situation upon her return.

“She was highly upset and let everyone involved know that this is an illegal act and was to stop immediately,” one of our sources noted.

That’s not surprising seeing as the former county jailer – Richie Rollins – lost his job during Chesterfield’s last inmate labor scandal.

According to our sources, Gillsepie notified both the S.C. attorney general’s office and SLED regarding her concerns over the inmate release – but received no response.

“So far, nothing has happened and it is being laughed off at the county level,” one source told us.

***

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Back in February, this website brought our readers the story of 26-year-old Nickolas Jermaine Miller.  This baseball-bat wielding thug stalked, kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered 29-year-old Beverly Hope Melton of Kershaw, S.C. on December 26, 2011.

According to police, Miller repeatedly raped Melton in rural Chesterfield County prior to taking her into neighboring Kershaw County – specifically the Mount Pisgah, S.C. area.  There, beside an old abandoned chicken barn, he proceeded to beat her to death with a baseball bat – even as Melton pleaded with him to spare her life.

Miller confessed to killing Melton – and ultimately led police to her lifeless, battered body.

“If there ever was a death penalty case, this is one,” Kershaw County (S.C.) sheriff Jim Matthews said at the time, calling the crime scene the worst he had encountered in his many years of law enforcement.

But Miller didn’t get the justice he deserved.

Why not?  Because as we exclusively reported, prosecutors were forced to “abandon their pursuit of the death penalty in Miller’s case due to the possibility of ‘contaminated’ evidence” from Chesterfield County.

“The sheriff’s department allowed inmates access to crucial evidence and the defense attorneys leveraged this ‘mistake’ and negotiated a plea deal,” one of our sources noted. “Now, the biggest gun bust in South Carolina, and possibly the country, could face a possible similar result.”

***

FALLOUT

The chance that improperly handled evidence could impact dozens (if not hundreds) of criminal cases isn’t the only curious development related to this gun bust.  According to our sources, the deputy who requested the inmate labor for the Pageland investigation – Rob Lee – is related to an employee in the local solicitor’s office (another local governmental entity whose former leader was undone by a scandal originating on this website).

That’s a clear conflict of interest.

Additionally, we’re told the case has led to renewed scrutiny of several previously dismissed charges that occurred while Lee – appointed in 2013 by governor Nikki Haley – was serving as Chesterfield’s acting sheriff.

“It has come to light that there is a lot more to the Pageland drug, guns and stolen goods case than meets the eye,” one of our sources noted. “There are previous cases against these same perps that were dismissed … (had) charges dropped or were otherwise settled which, in hindsight is more than a little suspicious.”

Additionally Lee’s wife was reportedly involved in at least two of those previous cases – adding fuel to the conflict-of-interest angle.

FITS has sought comment from Chesterfield officials, SLED and the attorney general’s office related to this story.  So far no one has commented.

Stay tuned … we plan on keeping our readers in the loop as we learn more about this brewing scandal.

UPDATE: A SLED spokesman has just issued the following statement in response to our inquiries.

“We did get a call from Sheila Gillespie last week. We contacted the Fourth Circuit Solicitor’s Office about the issue. Their office contacted the county administrator and Sheriff about the use of inmate labor. We were informed the matter is being handled administratively. The inmates were used to move all of the seized items and were under law enforcement supervision while moving the materials.”

UPDATE II: A spokesman for the attorney general just contacted us and provided the following statement.

“Our office has received a letter from Ms. Gillespie and we are reviewing it.”

***

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27 comments

shifty henry November 10, 2015 at 12:17 pm

This is going to be extremely, extremely interesting..!!

Reply
erneba November 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Ah, Chesterfield County, place of my birth and early childhood. Appears not to have changed much.
Do you have any really good red neck jokes.

Reply
shifty henry November 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm

A drunk is sitting at the end of a bar. He sees a lamp at the end of the table. He walks down to it and rubs it. Out pops a genie.

It says, “I will give you three wishes.” The drunk thinks awhile. Finally he says, “I want a
beer that never is empty.”

With that, the genie makes a poof sound and on the bar is a bottle of beer. He starts drinking it and right before it is gone, it starts to refill. The drunk is amazed by this – it’s really true!

The genie asks about his next two wishes.

The drunk says, “I want two more of these.”

Reply
shifty henry November 10, 2015 at 1:14 pm

For a couple of years I did some work for some families in Chesterfield County and they were good folks (with one exception). By the way, look at a map of NC and SC and see how many counties had their names put on cigarette brands! It’s a good trivia question for older folks and also to get free beers.

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erneba November 10, 2015 at 2:27 pm

When I was a kid, tobacco was king. Got up many a morning, went into the fields and pulled leafs from the stalk. Used to hang and gather in the dried tobacco from the barns.
Chesterfield, Marlboro, Winston, Salem are all familiar names in the world of cigarettes. Now, acreage for tobacco is allocated and harvesting and curing is all mechanical, that is, when you find it growing up there.

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shifty henry November 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm

As for ‘redneck’ jokes, I don’t have any sorted that way, but I do have some excellent books on Southern Humor (all family oriented). I’ll pull some out for you over the next few days — I haven’t been into them for a long time.

Reply
stumpknocker November 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm

why did the chicken cross the road?
to prove to possums it can be done.

Reply
Mike at the Beach November 11, 2015 at 12:30 am

Does he have a joke…you’re kidding, right? ;-)

Reply
shifty henry November 11, 2015 at 7:40 am

(from the Redneck Engineering Exam)
——————————
7) – A man squats on 1.8 acres in a holler with an overall grading of 12%. The man’s common
law wife has 7 grown children and 29 grandchildren. Can the acreage contain enough single-wide mobile homes to have one for each child?

8) – A one ton Dodge Ram Super Cab is carrying 1.5 tons of gravel down a 35 degree grade on a county road at 47 miles per hour. If the brakes fail, and the average vehicle density of county roads is known, what percentage of the time will it crash into a pickup with a Confederate flag in the rear window?

Reply
fred farkel November 11, 2015 at 8:15 am

Ah boy, it does appear that Chesterfield County hasn’t changed and neither have you. You are still white trash.

Reply
erneba November 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm

“Inmates handling loaded weapons?”
Well, you know, that should be good at that, given their past history.

Reply
21stconfed November 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I don’t get it? So this dude has a liqour store and sells illegal drugs. Since people who buy liqour in a rural store or want drugs and cannot afford it they have to steal people’s hunting rifles? Also looks like an axe handle sticking out of the box. AND one person who works in a rural county government is related to another person who works in rural county government, we should look it this because this never happens…
Lots of drama not really sure where you are going with this

Reply
Pew Pew, Murica November 10, 2015 at 2:10 pm

10,000 stolen guns?!?
Nice to see people keeping their guns nice and secure.

Reply
shifty henry November 10, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Are we to believe that in the short period of time these firearms were discovered that law enforcement has matched up all ‘10,000’ serial numbers to items reported as ‘stolen’ — and from EVERY state, Canada, Mexico, and so forth? I don’t believe it…

Reply
Jessie November 10, 2015 at 3:45 pm

It is the barter system. It is a lot older than the internet and not as destructive.

I say let him be.

Reply
erneba November 10, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Consider this, Guns are easy to steal from houses where no one is home. A good handgun would weigh about two pounds and is relatively small. A tv set, washer , dryer , refrigerator, a bedroom suite is just too big. And in the country, the jewelry and other valuable items that people have purchased is usually attached to their body or in their pocket when they leave home. And reselling appliances and larger items is a hassle, with a limited market.
Guns are small and lightweight and are extremely easy to ship and and then sell in illegal channels, to gangs and organizer drug dealers and professional thieves of the major metropolitan areas up North, sometimes for a lot more than the guns are worth. The liquor owner could have been trading guns for booze and realizing a good profit when he shipped then out to be sold.

Reply
Tazmaniac November 11, 2015 at 9:20 am

Speaking of flat screen TVs, one of my favorite Katrina shots was the guy wading waist deep through about 50 loaves of Wonder bread floating with a huge flat screen new in the box on his shoulder. the CNN lady said “he is not looting, he is starving and trying to survive as best he can with the resources available to him”. The irony to this day just kills me. Of course, I’m a guy who has detained literally 100s of shoplifters with T-bones and Ribeyes on them and their excuse was always “I was hungry”.

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small town crooks November 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm

They put the Pageland Chief of Police on administrative leave a couple of weeks ago. SLED is investigating him for some unknown reason.

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kyle November 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm

SC is known for its crooked sheriffs. When is Leon Lott going down?

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Guido Sarducci November 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Going down on what, oops…who?

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Erin November 10, 2015 at 3:50 pm

No matter what you say about the guy, he is a hottie. Stud from word go. I would love to make love with him!

There is something about an unshaven, unshowered man with 8 chins!

Reply
Lone Ranger November 10, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Ummmmm…Kemosabe…you know—ole Will Folks mighta lied about sleeping with Haley but one thing you can say about FITSNews

If it weren’t for him and South Carolina’s bedrock Tea voters ripping Dimwit “media” a new one—voters would get thoroughly screwed !!!

Reply
jimlewisowb November 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Seem to recall the US ATF running a scam called “letting guns walk” over in Arizona a few years back.

For awhile the Mexican drug cartel was fucking Uncle Sam’s Golden Goose 24/7 hauling “legal” guns back to Mexico to be used later to kill US DEA personnel

Maybe the Chesterfield Bubbas are doing the same

Been in that part of our Third World State a few times and there wasn’t a truck parked, rolling on the roadway, jacked up on blocks or laying in a field on its back that didn’t have a multiple slot gun rack in the rear window

Sounds like Sheriff Roscoe JJ Dynamite Brooks’ program to “put a shotgun or two on every Bubbas’ rack” is doing great

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Todd November 11, 2015 at 12:06 am

Inmates processing evidence? Defense attorney’s dream.

Reply
Guido Sarducci November 11, 2015 at 7:37 pm

Amen

Reply
Lee Gram November 11, 2015 at 6:53 am

Let’s look at this a little more,
1. Pageland PD and Sherriffs office knew this was happening. The liqueur store has been robbed and broken into every year for at least the last 10. Sherriffs office and Pageland PD have both investigated, there has always Been 10- 15 guns behind the counter on the floor. A crime in its self.
2. A couple of months ago Brett Nicholson reported that he had been robbed and guns were missing from his house. Again investigated by the pageland PD.
3. When the bust happened Jay Brooks Sherriff said that he had known about Nicholson for years??????
4. Nicholson’s wife works at and for Pageland town hall.
Let’s face it the Sherriffs dept and Pageland PD are completely corrupt. Looks like the only reason Nicholson was busted is because he was arrested in NC and questions were asked about the stolen guns he had in his possession. If he had not been arrested in NC then he would still be buying guns and other things from the liqueur store.

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David November 11, 2015 at 11:28 am

Brooks putting guns in his deputies hands ? and ask them down there how many they took inside Bojangles Then told them they Lie?

Reply

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