Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces Twenty-Third Arrest in Fourteenth “Operation Infinity” Drug Round-Up

William Lamar Crawford

William Lamar Crawford

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is announcing the twenty-third arrest today in the fourteenth “Operation Infinity” drug sweep round-up that began Thursday morning, August 25th.

In all, 25 individuals were or are being sought on a variety of drug charges involving methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and marijuana. Some individuals in the drug sweep were or are being sought on charges of Unlawful Neglect of a Child.

As of Monday, October 3rd, 22 individuals had been arrested so far and/or were already in jail and will or have been served their warrants. 20 of those arrested were sought as part of the round-up plus two individuals arrested were not originally sought as part of the roundup. Here is the information on the additional arrest:

1) William Lamar Crawford
Westminster, SC
31 years old
Distribution of Ice (Methamphetamine) – 1st Offense
Booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 12:38pm on October 19th
Still in custody at the Detention Center as of 9:30am on October 20th on a $15,000 surety bond.

The charge of Distribution of Ice (Methamphetamine) – 1st Offense against Crawford is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 15 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $25,000.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Participating in No Shave November

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in No Shave November to raise money St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.

“No Shave November is an initiative to bring awareness to men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, and to help raise money for a great cause,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “The men who choose to participate in our department will be putting down their razors for the month to help raise awareness to these issues. I encourage our citizens to support these efforts by talking with our deputies if you see them in public and making a donation while you have this conversation with them.”

Deputies who decide to participate will pay a minimum of $25 and they can raise as much money as they want through any donations they receive from citizens.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking that any donations that citizens want to make be made to deputies in person or by stopping by the Sheriff’s Office during normal business hours, Monday – Friday from 8:30am until 4:30pm but please do not call the Sheriff’s Office to make donations as this may tie up the phone lines that are used for official law enforcement business.

If you are interested in receiving a tax deduction for your donation, you are asked to write a check made payable to St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and Walhalla Police Department Arrest Oconee Man on Multiple Charges

Daniel Eugene Fortner

Daniel Eugene Fortner

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and the Walhalla Police Department arrested an Oconee man on multiple charges yesterday.

30 year old Daniel Eugene Fortner was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 6:21pm. Arrest warrants from the Sheriff’s Office list Fortner’s address as Highland Avenue in Westminster while the Detention Center lists Fortner’s address as South John Street in Walhalla.

Acting upon information received concerning the location of Fortner, deputies from the Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Walhalla Police Department responded to an address on Broadway Street in the Seneca area and knocked on the door of a residence.

Fortner eventually came out of the residence and was placed under arrest without incident by a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division of the Sheriff’s Office and transported to the Detention Center by an officer from the Walhalla Police Department.

Fortner was booked into the Detention Center on four arrest warrants by the Sheriff’s Office. Fortner is charged with one count of breaking into a gas tank of a personal watercraft and one count of Petit Larceny for stealing a gas can, gas and a Jet Ski battery from an address on Sugar Creek Haven Way in the Westminster area around August 31st.

Deputies have also charged Fortner with one count of Second Degree Burglary and one count of Grand Larceny in regards to an August 5th incident that occurred on Shiloh Road in which Fortner entered a building on the property and stole a 1959 Chevrolet Apache truck valued at around $16,000. The truck was eventually recovered by deputies.

Fortner had two arrest warrants also from the Walhalla Police Department on charges of Malicious Damage to Personal Property and Petit Larceny.

Fortner also had an outstanding General Session Bench Warrant and a Magistrate’s Bench Warrant from the city of Westminster as well as a warrant from the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardons. A hold has also been placed on Fortner by the Clemson Police Department.

Fortner remains in custody at the Detention Center as of 3:30pm this afternoon awaiting a bond hearing.

The charge of Breaking into a Fuel Tank against Fortner is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.

The charge of Petit Larceny against Fortner is a felony with a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison.

The charge of Second Degree Burglary against Fortner is a felony with a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison.

The charge of Grand Larceny against Fortner is a felony with a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison or a fine with the amount determined at the discretion of the Court.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.

Inmate Charged With Assault on Correctional Officer

Kenneth Strother Collins, Jr.

Kenneth Strother Collins, Jr.

Release Courtesy of Thom Berry
Public Information Officer
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

Agents of the S.C. Law Enforcement Division Monday charged a Walhalla man in connection with an assault on a correctional officer in the Oconee County Detention Center.

Kenneth Strother Collins, Jr., 25, was charged with Assault and Battery – Third Degree, a misdemeanor which carries a penalty upon conviction of a fine of up to $500, up to 30 days in prison or both.

SLED investigated the case at the request of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.

Collins was booked on the charge at the Oconee County Detention Center.

The case will be prosecuted by the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Offers Tips on Internet Safety

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–With much of our lives centered around computers, technology and the internet, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is offering these tips to help keep you and your family safe.

“The Sheriff’s Office has committed itself to providing helpful information to help you and your family from becoming a victim,” according to Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “This includes updates periodically on various types of scams but also information, such as is contained in this press release, on how you protect yourself while you enjoy visiting the internet and your favorite sites and staying in touch with family and friends.”

The Sheriff’s Office is offering the following internet safety tips:

• If anyone calls claiming to be from a technology company and you did not initiate the call and they say that your computer contains viruses or malware or has some type of problem and if you pay money they will repair your computer or remove the harmful items, it is a scam and if you allow those individual(s) remote access to your computer, then your computer could be compromised and any personal or financial information could be compromised and other information could be erased or held for ransom. If someone from the outside gains remote access to your computer in this way, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately and do not pay any ransom, as this could further embolden the scammers. Also, make sure you have your files backed up in a virtual cloud environment and/or on some type of thumb drive.
• Change you passwords on a frequent basis and use different passwords for each internet account you have. The more unique you make them and the more difficult to guess, the better the chance you have from becoming a victim.
• You may also want to consider using two-factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security by using a second known device. For example, when you change something on your account, such as a password, a text can be sent to you phone advising you of the change.
• Set your internet and social media accounts on the highest security level possible and post as little personal information as you can. Anything could be potentially used by individuals looking to scam and/or steal personal and financial information.
• If someone sends you an e-mail with an attachment and/or a link to another site and you do not know that person, do not open the attachment and/or click on the link as this is a way for viruses, malware or Trojans to be downloaded on your computer or allow someone to gain remote access to your computer.
• Be careful in regards to the sites you log into while in public places that offer Wi-Fi service as those hotspots may not provide enough security.
• Make sure you have your computer’s firewall turned on at all times and keep your antivirus software updated and current. Also make sure that the critical updates on your operating system for your computer are current.
• Look out for social media scams that offer gifts cards, for example, as a prize for taking a survey or for online shopping scams that offer merchandise at discounted prices. If an offer sounds too good to be true, more often than not it is and it could be used to steal personal or financial information.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Man on Multiple Charges after Weekend Burglary

Bradley Thomas Barnett

Bradley Thomas Barnett

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster man over the weekend on multiple charges in relation to a burglary incident.

20 year old Bradley Thomas Barnett of E. Richfield Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 5:30pm Sunday.

Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to an address on South Highway 11 early Sunday morning in the Walhalla area in regards to reports of a burglary.

Based on the results of the investigation that occurred and evidence gathered, deputies were able to determine that Barnett made entry into the residence through a window and assaulted a female inside the residence while also throwing the victim’s phone and shattering it.

After yelling for the suspect to leave, Bradley hid in a closet while two other occupants of the residence came into the victim’s room. After one of the occupants opened the closet, Bradley reportedly came out and assaulted a male occupant, whereupon an altercation ensued between the two.

That altercation continued until deputies arrived to separate the two parties. The male victim was later transported to Oconee Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Bradley was taken into custody and placed under arrest. While being taken to a patrol vehicle to be transported to the Detention Center, Bradley began to resist and while the deputy was attempting to regain control, both Bradley and the deputy feel to the ground in the driveway. Bradley and the deputy both sustained non-serious and non-life threatening injuries and both were transported to the Oconee Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Bradley was released from the hospital and transported to the Detention Center.

Deputies obtained warrants on Sunday charging Bradley with one count of First Degree Burglary, one count of Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, one count of Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree, two counts of Malicious Injury to Personal Property and one count of Resisting Assault while Resisting Arrest.

As of 1:15pm, Barnett remains in custody at the Detention Center on a combined $200,000 surety bond on all charges.

The charge of First Degree Burglary against Barnett is a felony that carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison.

The charge of Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature against Barnett is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in prison.

The charge of Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree against Barnett is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in jail and/or a fine of not more than $500.

The two charges of Malicious Injury to Personal Property against Barnett are misdemeanors that each carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in jail and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.

The charge of Assaulting a Police Officer while Resisting Arrest is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison and/or a fine from $1,000 to $10,000.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources To Host Hunter Education Classes in October and November

SCDNR Logo

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will be hosting hunter education classes in the months of October and November in the following locations:

LOCATIONS & DATES

- Oct 15, Saturday, 8am-4pm
Historic Belton Depot, 100 N. Main Street, Belton

- Oct 22, Saturday, 8am-4pm
Foothills Community Church, 505 Bountyland Road, Seneca

- Oct 22, Saturday, 8am-4pm
Calyx Outdoors, 3318-C Hwy 153, Piedmont

- Nov 12, Saturday, 8am-4pm
Walhalla Fire Department, 207 E. North Broad Street, Walhalla

All residents and non-residents born after June 30, 1979, need the hunter education endorsement and must complete a hunter education course before obtaining a hunting license in the state. If you were born prior to that date and attempt to acquire a hunting license out-of-state, you’ll find that many states now require you to have a hunter education endorsement. The Hunter Education Program is dedicated to the safe enjoyment of our outdoors. Through this program, students learn about responsibility and ethics in the field, as well as firearms safety.

Participants must pre-register at www.dnr.sc.gov and clicking on the hunter education icon or by calling 803.734.3995.

It’s first come, first served and is a free event.

All children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The minimum age to take the exam and be certified is 10.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Man on Charges of Distribution of Methamphetamine

Jeremy Allen Ward

Jeremy Allen Ward

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man over the weekend on charges of Distribution of Methamphetamine.

31 year old Jeremy Allen Ward of Fire Tower Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 1:04am Sunday. As of 9:30am this morning, Ward remained in custody at the Detention Center on a $20,000 surety bond.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division on routine patrol observed a motorcycle being pushed along Oak Creek Road late Saturday evening. As the deputy pulled up, he noticed the subject, later identified as Ward, appearing to try to conceal or put something in his pockets.

The deputy made contact with Ward. Ward informed the deputy that he had ran out of gas and was pushing the motorcycle back home. Ward also informed the deputy that he did not have a license.

As the investigation continued, the deputy discovered a quantity of methamphetamine on the person of Ward that was placed in several baggies.

Ward was placed under arrest and taken to the Detention Center and placed on a Temporary Custody Order until a warrant was obtained on the charge of Distribution of Methamphetamine.

The motorcycle was towed from the scene.

The charge of Distribution of Methamphetamine is a felony with a penalty of not more than 15 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $25,000.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Two Seneca Teens on Multiple Charges

Larecius Jermaine Maddox

Larecius Jermaine Maddox

Melvin Leonel Saravia-Cabrera

Melvin Leonel Saravia-Cabrera

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested two Seneca teens earlier this morning on multiple charges related to a burglary and two instances of assault and battery.

19 year old Larecius Jermaine Maddox of Friendship Road and 19 year old Melvin Leonel Saravia-Cabrera of East South 5th Street were booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 2:12am and 3:00am respectively.

Late Thursday evening, a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to an address on Eastpointe Drive in West Union in regards to reports of a burglary. The homeowner told deputies that two males had forced their way into their home, looking for someone who lived in the home. An acquaintance of the homeowner was assaulted by both males before leaving the property. The victim lost a baseball hat he was wearing during the altercation and believed that one of the suspects may have picked it up. The hat was later discovered in the possession of one of the suspects.

Deputies observed a physical manifestation of injuries on the individual who had been assaulted and also observed damage inside of the residence. Deputies also obtained a description of both males and a description of a vehicle that both subjects were in.

While that investigation were ongoing, deputies learned of a second incident scene at a business on Scenic Plaza Drive involving an altercation between the same two males who broke into the home on Eastpointe Drive and the individual the males were looking for at the residence.
Deputies observed a physical manifestation of injuries on the victim.

Deputies eventually located the vehicle in question and made contact with the vehicle and the occupants in the parking lot of Applewood Shopping Center on Highway 123. Officers from the Sheriff’s Office and the Seneca Police Department spoke with the driver of the vehicle, which was Saravia-Cabrera and the passenger, which was Maddox.

While the investigation continued in the parking lot at Applewood Shopping Center, deputies observed alcoholic beverages inside the vehicle in plain view. Both individual was placed under arrest and each was issued citations for Open Container of Beer and for a Minor in Possession of Beer. Also, Saravia-Cabrera and Maddox were booked in on Temporary Custody Order’s until warrants were obtained today on additional charges.

In the warrants obtained today, both Maddox and Saravia-Cabrera have been charged with two counts each of Assault and Battery by Mob – 3rd Degree and one count each of First Degree Burglary. Saravia-Cabrera has been charged separately with one count of Petit Larceny.

The charge of First Degree Burglary is a felony that carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison.

The charge of Assault and Battery by Mob – 3rd Degree is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of not more than 1 year in prison.

The charge of Petit Larceny against Saravia-Cabrera is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in prison or a fine of not more than $1,000.

As of 2:30pm, both Maddox and Saravia-Cabrera remain in custody at the Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

Open Letter from Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw to the Citizens of Oconee County

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

To the citizens of Oconee County,

The vision statement that my office adopted when I became Sheriff of Oconee County early in my tenure was “Building Partnerships to Promote a Safer Community.” As I reflect on this statement, I know that the greatest partnership that our law enforcement agency, or any agency for that matter has, is with the citizens that we serve every day.

Partnerships reflect coming together, many parts becoming one, to build relationships to find common ground on those things we agree upon and to work on those things in which we may disagree. Together, we search for solutions to those problems. Community denotes family and almost all of our the men and women who serve you everyday at the Sheriff’s Office live right here in our county. Their children go to school here, their family and friends are employed here and in many cases, their roots are planted here as well. All of us in Oconee County, no matter who we are, are part of one big family and what affect one of us affect all of us.

It has been a difficult time for law enforcement across our nation but I believe it is the best time to be a law enforcement officer because the men and women who wear the badge have the opportunity to show our citizens and the general public that their officers who serve them are professional and exhibit high standards of good conduct and character in the performance of their duties everyday as they work to keep Oconee County safe. I am committed to providing our deputies with the very best training, equipment and a fair salary in order to keep them safe and dedicated to the law enforcement profession. In turn, I maintain high standards of accountability in expecting our staff to keep our citizens safe.

Over the past few weeks and even before recent events, many individuals, businesses, organizations and churches have reached out to us in many ways to express their appreciation. The appreciation shown to us has been in the form of cards, letters, e-mail’s or even kind words said in a store, restaurant or on the street. It has been reflected with snacks and food that have been brought to our Law Enforcement Center in Walhalla. Some have even bought meals for our deputies without seeking any acclaim on their part. Churches have held and will be holding services and other events to express their gratitude. We have had young people, such as 15 year old Tyler Orr, who has taken money he has earned at a job to make bracelets for our officers to show his support and appreciation.

On behalf of the men and women who make up the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, your Sheriff’s Office, I want to personally thank each and every person, business, organization or church who has reached out to us, in their own way, to show your appreciation to us. I want to let you know, with a humble and grateful heart, that we are truly honored for the opportunity that we have to serve you everyday. I ask for your continued prayers not only for our deputies, but all law enforcement and public safety responders in Oconee County and elsewhere.

Without your support and prayers, we could not perform the tasks that you have entrusted us with and we are eternally grateful.

Sincerely,
Michael L. Crenshaw
Sheriff
Oconee County, South Carolina