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Updated: Orangeburg County sheriff fires accused deputies; Ravenell ‘mad as hell,’ at officers' alleged actions
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Updated: Orangeburg County sheriff fires accused deputies; Ravenell ‘mad as hell,’ at officers' alleged actions

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Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell fired four deputies on Friday after federal charges were announced against them.

He said he’s thankful for the outside agencies that investigated the officers, but he’s “mad as hell” about the alleged actions of his former officers.

"I stand here angry – no, mad as hell and extremely, extremely disappointed in the alleged actions. I will never turn away an outside agency when they are trying to do an investigation and trying to rid anything or anybody not standing for law and order,” Ravenell said during a Friday press conference.

U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon announced Friday that four Orangeburg County deputies, two Springfield officers, one person presenting himself as an officer and two other people are facing a number of charges.

The following former Orangeburg County officers are facing charges:

• Deputy Carolyn Colter Franklin -- conspiracy, visa fraud, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime

• Deputy Nathaniel Miller Shazier III -- conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime

• Deputy Stanley Lavalle Timmons -- conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime

• Deputy Willie Paul David Rogers: conspiracy and visa fraud

Ravenell apologized to the citizens of Orangeburg County, to all who work for the sheriff’s office and all those who wear the badge for the deputies’ alleged actions.

“If these individuals are found guilty, not only did they lie to the public, they lied to me,” he said.

While he did not participate in the investigation, Ravenell “found out about it early on.” He declined to comment on how long he knew.

He said the loss of the deputies does hurt the office's ability to provide coverage for the 1,100 square miles and almost 100,000 citizens of Orangeburg County. The sheriff’s office has 92 employees.

The office is in the process of interviewing to fill the positions.

The sheriff's office does screen hires, but sometimes people slip through, Ravenell said. He said the office will review its hiring processes as well as how it handles the visa program going forward in order to prevent the same thing from happening again.

He noted that law enforcement officers have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives “for right, for honor and for law.”

"It is a sad day for law enforcement," Ravenell said. "Here we are again having to fight for the trust of citizens for what they are paying us to do."

The Springfield officers who were charged are:

• Chief Lacra Sharod Jenkins -- conspiracy, visa fraud, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime

• Officer Allan Hunter Jr. -- conspiracy, visa fraud, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime

Messages left for Springfield Mayor Ed Furtick to learn the status of the Springfield officers were not returned Friday.

Springfield Town Councilwoman Lydia Lackey was withholding judgment on the two Springfield officers, noting they are “innocent until proven guilty.”

"I hate for somebody to condemn somebody just because they have been accused of something," she said.

Springfield does have one part-time officer still on duty. She is unsure of the status of the officers indicted and had not been in discussions with the mayor about the matter.

Lackey said whatever happens, the men have done a good job slowing down traffic through Springfield.

The others charged in the case are:

• James Albert Tucker, who was representing himself as an Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office reserve officer -- conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

• Saurabhkumar B. Patel of Orangeburg – conspiracy

• Tarang Patel of Newport, Kentucky -- conspiracy and visa fraud

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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