Just when you might think the Strickland/Soles story couldn’t get any weirder, “Frog” Strickland goes and does something dumb again. Deuce Niven, a reporter at the Tabor-Loris Tribune, has the story (as printed in The Fayetteville Observer):
Read full article » 1 Comment »
Allen Wayne Strickland, the Tabor City teen with ties to state Sen. R.C. Soles Jr., was back in jail Monday night for violating the terms of his house arrest, Columbus County Sheriff Chris Batten said.
Detention officers for the Sheriff’s Office took Strickland back into custody after catching him near the home of Sen. Soles, Batten said.
Under terms of his house arrest, Strickland was not to leave the Williams Street home of an aunt. “He was down there waiting on R.C. at his house,” Batten said.
The Brunswick Beacon’s Caroline Curran wrote a fascinating piece about the history of corruption investigations in county politics. It’s well worth your time. Remember the ColCor scandal that led to R.C. Soles’ indictment in the early 1980s (a Columbus jury later found him not guilty)? At the same time:
While ColCor targeted Columbus County Corruption, federal agents were waging a similar investigative war in Brunswick County—Operation Gateway.
Twenty-two indictments were handed down in Operation Gateway by the same special investigative grand jury responsible for ColCor indictments.
More than a dozen people, several of whom were public officials, were arrested when the walls surrounding the drug-smuggling and corruption operation came crumbling down.
Former Brunswick County Sheriff Herman Strong was among those indicted.
Others indicted included then-chief of police in Shallotte, Hoyal “Red” Varnam and his brother, former N.C. Department of Transportation employee and county commissioner Steve Varnam—all prominent local Democrats.
The 1983 street value of the narcotics in Strong and his co-conspirators’ criminal enterprise was $180 million.
After Strong’s conviction, U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt required Strong to resign his post as sheriff and sentenced him to 14 years active time in a federal prison in Pennsylvania.
Two sheriffs later, another corruption probe began in Brunswick County:
Throughout the federal investigation, [Sheriff Ronald] Hewett’s message to the public and the press was consistent—he did not know the nature of the investigation.
He proclaimed his innocence throughout the nearly yearlong investigation.
But on March 27, 2008, [District Attorney Rex] Gore suspended Hewett from office on the grounds of habitual neglect, willful misconduct and maladministration, extortion and intoxication. Then on April 15, 2008, after 14 years at the helm of the sheriff’s office, Hewett resigned.
He pleaded guilty to federal obstruction of justice on June 2, 2008.
Last October, Hewett stood in U.S. District Court before Britt—the man who sentenced his predecessor to prison some 25 years earlier. Having pleaded guilty to a federal obstruction of justice charge months earlier, Britt handed down Hewett’s fate—16 months in federal prison.
Mike Easley and Sam Currin make appearances in the story, too.Read full article » No Comments »