Local News

Columbus County police chief indicted on drug charges

Posted May 9, 2012 5:11 p.m. EDT
Updated May 9, 2012 6:44 p.m. EDT

— A grand jury in Columbus County on Wednesday indicted the police chief of the town of Fair Bluff on several drug-related charges stemming from a six-month investigation.

Chief Marty Lewis was indicted on one count each of trafficking cocaine, trafficking prescription painkillers and possession of cocaine.

He was in the Columbus County jail Wednesday evening under a $100,000 bond.

Lewis was named police chief in Fair Bluff, which has a population of about 1,400, in 2006.

"Sadly, what we're dealing with here is not an isolated, one-time occurrence, but a pattern of criminal conduct that happened over many months," Columbus County District Attorney Jon David said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Whiteville.

David said the investigation started in October after guns were reported stolen from the Fair Bluff Police Department.

At an arraignment Wednesday, he said Lewis worked closely with a known drug dealer and went so far as to stage a robbery in 2010 to cover up missing evidence from drug seizures.

No other officers were involved in the case, David said.

Lewis is a 20-year law enforcement veteran in Columbus County.

Several residents of Fair Bluff declined to comment on the charges Wednesday.

But longtime resident Ethel Tisdale said she is stunned.

"I don't believe it. I believe it was a set-up," Tisdale said. "He's not the type of person, in my opinion."