Pubdate: Tue, 16 Nov 2004
Source: Anderson Independent-Mail (SC)
Copyright: 2004 Independent Publishing Company, a division of E.W. Scripps
Author: Charmaine Smith
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Affidavit Says Officer Earned $200,000 Protecting Dealer

PENDLETON - State agents arrested a 33-year-old Anderson County sheriff's 
narcotics agent on a charge of trafficking methamphetamine after learning 
an officer was providing protection to a drug dealer for profit.

Matthew Brian Durham of 158 Old Sanders Road in Pendleton was taken into 
custody at Lowe's on Clemson Boulevard Friday, culminating a joint 
investigation by the Anderson County sheriff's narcotics division and the 
State Law Enforcement Division.

An affidavit stated that on at least 20 occasions between May and November, 
an officer told a local methamphetamine dealer who he could sell drugs to 
and still avoid arrest.

Mr. Durham had worked with the Sheriff's Office since June 1995.

SLED agents approached a "known methamphetamine dealer" on Friday and the 
dealer told agents a sheriff's narcotics officer was providing protection. 
The dealer said the narcotics officer gave the dealer money to buy a pound 
of methamphetamine in May. Profits from the sale of the drugs were split 
between the officer and the dealer, the affidavit said.

Under the agreement, the officer received $5,000 a week in payment for the 
protection, earning a total of $200,000, the affidavit said.

"The Anderson County Sheriff's Office came to us with this," SLED spokesman 
Lt. Mike Brown said.

Anderson County sheriff's Capt. Dale McCard said narcotics division 
officers notified their supervisor of possible illegal activity. That 
information was relayed to the captain and SLED was called.

"We won't stand for that type of conduct," Capt. McCard said.

When the Anderson Independent-Mail learned of Mr. Durham's arrest on 
Monday, SLED officials asked the information be withheld until Tuesday due 
to the concern for officers' safety and the possibility that more arrests 
would be made in the case.

The case will be prosecuted by the state Attorney General's Office. On 
Monday, Judge G. Thomas Cooper Jr. denied Mr. Durham bond in a hearing held 
in Columbia.

The arrest was made Friday after the drug dealer, who agreed to cooperate 
with authorities, made a call to an officer and learned where it was safe 
to sell drugs. The two then agreed to meet at Lowe's to exchange the $5,000 

After the arrest on Friday, agents searched Mr. Durham's Pendleton home and 
found a safe containing $200,000.

He was taken to the Greenville County Detention Center and the Richland 
County Detention Center "for his own safety," Lt. Brown said.

Capt. McCard said Tuesday that Mr. Durham worked for the Liberty Police 
Department and then was hired at the Sheriff's Office as a deputy 
patrolman. He later was assigned to the narcotics division and advanced to 
senior investigator.
- ---