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Chesterfield Gun Bust Saga: The Memo

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LOCAL JAILER ALERTED ATTORNEY GENERAL TO ILLEGAL INMATE INVOLVEMENT

Earlier this week we reported extensively and exclusively on some bizarre developments related to a major gun bust in Chesterfield County, S.C. – which in recent year has been one of the most corrupt rural regions of the Palmetto State.

Here’s the nickel tour: Late last month, more than 10,000 guns were seized by representatives of local, state and federal law enforcement during a raid on a residence in Pageland, S.C.

The day after the raid (a Saturday), the local sheriff’s office sprung ten inmates from the local prison to help sort through the evidence … which included loaded weapons.

Yeah … while you ponder the insanity of that, also bear in mind this is the same county where an inmate labor scandal resulted in the last sheriff getting indicted.  And where issues regarding the handling of evidence kept a savage killer from getting the justice he deserved.

Anyway, as we reported, the local jailer Sheila Gillespie was out-of-town on the Saturday and Sunday when her inmates were taken.  Upon returning, though, she “raised holy hell” about the illegality of the process.

We’ve now obtained a copy of the memo she sent to S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson‘s office about the matter …

In the memo (.pdf page one, page two), dated November 4, Gillespie wrote that “inmates are not allowed to perform any work on private property.”  She also wrote that “it is illegal for inmates to handle weapons and ammunition.”

Gillespie’s letter also confirms our original reporting that five of the ten inmates used to assist law enforcement in handling these seized weapons were “convicted felons.”

“There is no doubt that the acts that were committed on October 24th and 25th were criminal,” she concluded in her memo to Wilson.

As we reported previously, a spokesman for Wilson declined to comment on the case except to say their office received a letter from Gillespie – which is currently under review.  Meanwhile the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – which participated in the raid – has defended the use of the inmates, saying they “were under law enforcement supervision while moving the materials.”

Hmmm …

That’s not at all comforting … especially when you consider SLED would be the agency Wilson would call on in the event he felt Gillespie’s allegations were worth investigating.

Which they clearly are …

There are a ton of unanswered questions about this raid (including some disturbing conflicts of interest between local lawmen and prosecutors in the area), but one thing isn’t up for debate at this point: Law enforcement completely screwed the pooch in handling the evidence it obtained.

And there’s no telling how many criminal cases that could sabotage …

Oh well … at least we know South Carolina cops are working hard to protect us from dime bag dealing “drug dealers.”

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