Former officer arrested

PICKENS — A former Pickens County Detention Center officer has been arrested and charged in connection with providing contraband items to inmates.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division charged Justin Lee Kelley, 22, with furnishing contraband to prisoners. If convicted, Kelley faces one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

Kelley was also charged with misconduct in office, a common law violation, and was booked at the Pickens County Detention Center. A conviction carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Arrest warrants accuse Kelley of furnishing detention center prisoners with cigarettes, which are considered contraband, between the dates of Feb. 19 and June 19. The warrants also claim Kelley “admitted to providing contraband to the prisoners six or seven times during the listed timeframe.”

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Creed Hashe said the sheriff’s office received information that a detention center officer was smuggling various types of illegal contraband into the facility and selling the items for personal gain. Kelley was terminated June 19 for policy violations.

“The detention center is a function of the sheriff’s office, and all detention center employees answer to the sheriff,” Hashe said, adding Kelley had been hired by the sheriff’s office on Dec. 7, when he was assigned to the detention center as a detention officer. “Sheriff Clark requested assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate information that we received concerning alleged activity where Mr. Kelley was bringing contraband into the facility, which is a criminal violation.”

Hashe said he could not issue any further comments, as SLED has completed its investigation.

The case will be prosecuted by the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.