Monthly Archives: February 2014

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Partners with U.S. Marshal Service to Conduct Operation Oconee Compliance of Registered Sex Offenders

Sheriff's Badge

United-States-Marshals-Service-Star-Badge

Cynthia Renee Brooks

Cynthia Renee Brooks

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)—————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the U.S. Marshals Service to verify the addresses of those on the sex offender registry Monday and Tuesday of this week.

On Monday morning, Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw welcomed the Marshals, who came to Oconee from different parts of the Palmetto State. The group assembled for a briefing at the Gignilliat Community Center in Seneca. After the meeting, the deputies paired with a Marshal to begin work to verify the addresses of 156 registered sex offender who live in Oconee County. It was during this time that one of those offenders, 43 year old Cynthia Renee Brooks of 249 Mormon Church Road in Seneca, was arrested for a sex offender registry violation for a third offense for failing to register. The Seneca Police Department is credited with the arrest of Brooks.

Through the efforts of the Sheriff’s Office and the Marshals Service, 137 of the 156 sex offenders addresses were able to be verified Monday and Tuesday. Sheriff’s Deputies will continue the operation until all of the remaining offenders are verified.

“The Marshals are not a registering agency, but they can assist local agencies in verifying registered sex offender addresses,” according to Deputy Kelly Winchester, sex offender registrar with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “The Marshals who we partnered with specialize in locating absconded sex offenders.”

The U.S. Marshals Service serves as the lead federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating sex offenders registration violation under what is known as the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
The Marshals Service also assists federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies in locating and apprehending fugitive sex offenders, plus, the Marshals Service works closely with other organizations, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Department of Justice Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking Office.

On July 27th, 2006, a federal law was passed which established strict new criminal penalties for sex offenders who fail to comply with the requirements of their sex offender registration. Due to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, those individuals who have been convicted of sex offenses are required by law to register as a sex offender in the jurisdiction(s) where they live, work, and go to school, and in many cases, in the jurisdiction(s) where they were convicted. Sex offenders who fail to register or even keep their registrations current, may be subject to up to 10 years imprisonment, and up to 30 years imprisonment if they commit a crime of violence while non-compliant which does not include charges that may be issued according to state, local, tribal or territorial law.

Under the provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the Attorney General can use federal law enforcement resources, including the U.S. Marshals Service, to assist jurisdictions to locate and apprehend those who violate their offender registration requirement. The Marshals Service can assist local, state, tribal and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of non-compliant sex offenders, investigate violations and related offenses, and assist in the identification and location of sex offenders relocated as a result of a major disaster.

Sheriff Crenshaw requested the assistance through United States Marshal Kelvin Washington, District of South Carolina. “Marshal Washington and I began discussing this operation last year. I am thankful for The Marshal’s assistance as we worked through planning this operation. We intended for this to be a surprise visit and we are pleased with the verification rate of the offenders living in our county. We will continue to be vigilant in making sure sex offenders in Oconee County are following the letter of the law.”

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Charges Westminster Man with Additional Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor Charges

Casey D. Gaines

Casey D. Gaines

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Westminster man with an additional Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor charge that came about during an earlier criminal sexual conduct with a minor investigation this month that involved a different female.

Yesterday, 35 year old Casey D. Gaines of 107 John Smith Road in Westminster was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center at 12:32pm after Gaines was turned over earlier in the day to Oconee County deputies from Newberry County, where he was being held on unrelated charges. Gaines had bond denied during a bond hearing at the Detention Center on the new charge.

The new charge involves a different victim from one mentioned in the previous warrants and only involves one female. According to warrants, Gaines is accused of having sexual relations with a then ten year old female between January 1st and July 31st, 2004. The incidents occurred at a location in Westminster.

Back on February 8th, Gaines was charged with one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor with the victim being 11 to 14 years of age and two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor with the victim being under 16 years old. These charges evolved from the original investigation and once again, involves a different female from the one mentioned in the new charge.

Investigators back on February 7th say that they first received word that day of allegations involving Mr. Gaines. Through the course of the investigation from following leads and interviewing witnesses and individuals, arrest warrants against Mr. Gaines were signed on February 8th.

According to investigators, Gaines was accused in the first investigation of having sexual intercourse with a then 12 year old female on or about September 2010 through November 2010. Gaines was also accused according to warrants of engaging in sex with a then 14 year old on or about May of 2012. Finally, investigators charged Gaines with engaging in sex with a 15 year old minor on or about August of 2013. The final two allegations involved a girl who Gaines was in a “familial, custodial, and/or authority position to coerce the victim.” Those incidents occurred in Westminster.

Gaines also had an outstanding bench warrant at that time from August of 2011 for Driving under Suspension.

Gaines was taken to the Oconee County Detention Center back on February 9th and his total surety bond amount on the original three Criminal Sexual Conduct charges was $60,000. Gaines was bonded out of the Detention Center on February 22nd and then was turned over to officials from Newberry County for unrelated charges. He was then transported back to Oconee County from there yesterday.

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

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Mountain Rest Man on Criminal Domestic Violence Charges

Gerald Thomas Moore

Gerald Thomas Moore

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Mountain Rest man yesterday morning on Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature Charges from an incident that occurred earlier in February.

53 year old Gerald Thomas Moore of 525 Callie Drive in Mountain Rest was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 10:56am yesterday morning.

According to deputies, two officers responded to an address on Grandpa Mountain Drive in Mountain Rest on February 5th in which a complainant told the deputies that she had gone over to Moore’s house on Callie Drive. Moore is the complainant’s ex-husband. The complainant said she went there to discuss issues pertaining to their son.

After making statements to Moore, the complainant stated that Moore became angry and outraged, slapped her across the left side of her face and neck, upon which she was knocked off the porch of the residence, and then pointed a gun at her and then threatened to, according to the incident report, kill her if she did not leave. The complainant then made her way back to her vehicle, made her way back home and contacted law enforcement. The case was then investigated by the Sheriff’s Office.

As the investigation continued, an arrest warrant for Moore was issued on February 10th.

At this time, Moore is still in jail at the Detention Center. His surety bond amount on the charges is $25,000.

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

Jesse Logan Waters

Jesse Logan Waters

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————-An Oconee County man wanted on three outstanding warrants was arrested by an Oconee County deputy yesterday evening during a traffic stop that took place during routine road patrol operations.

37 year old Jesse Logan Waters of 180 School House Road in Westminster was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around midnight. The three outstanding warrants were for charges of unlawful neglect of a child. Waters was also charged with traffic violations and drug charges as a result of the stop.

According to deputies, an officer on Highway 24 observed a white in color Ford Taurus with no license plate around 10:42pm Tuesday evening. The officer pulled the vehicle over on a traffic stop at the intersection of Highway 24 at Cedar Lane Road. The officer asked the driver, Waters, where his license plate was and Waters responded that the vehicle was just recently purchased and gave the deputy the title to the vehicle and his license. The title, according to the incident report, did not have any dates on it and the deputy noticed that Waters acted nervously and moving around in his vehicle.

Dispatchers ran the vehicle and license information and told the deputy that the vehicle was not stolen but Waters had three outstanding warrants. The deputy asked Waters to get out of the vehicle, where he was placed under arrest because of the active warrants. The deputy then began an inventory of the vehicle incident to the arrest.

Upon his search, the officer found several white oval small pills in the passenger side floor board, along with an empty pill bottle. Plus, according to the incident report, over 50 yellow rectangular pills were found between the center console and the passenger seat, as well as 9 round yellow pills in a plastic baggie. Plus, several plastic baggies which are used in the distribution of narcotics were found as well as two baggies of what appeared to be marijuana under the passenger seat.

The vehicle was towed and Waters was transported to the Oconee County Detention Center.

According to arrest warrants that were issued on February 6th, Waters is accused of exposing a 5 year old female, and a 10 and 14 year old male to methamphetamine. All three children tested positive for meth. Waters was also arrested for selling meth, according to the warrants. Waters’ wife, 31 year old Anita Crystal Waters, was arrested on three warrants for unlawful neglect of a child back on February 7th for the same three children.

In regards to the traffic stop, Waters was ticketed for no vehicle license, no proof of insurance and for simple possession of marijuana for around 3.5 grams of marijuana that was recovered. A warrant against Waters charges him with possession of two controlled substances, hydromorphine and clonazepam. The over 50 yellow rectangular pills are not a controlled substance and will be destroyed.

Local Emergency Planning Committee of Oconee County Hosting Community Awareness Event

LEPC_logo

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Local Emergency Planning Committee of Oconee County will be hosting a Community Awareness Day this Saturday, March 1st in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Seneca.

The event will be held from 10am until 4pm and will feature vehicles and information from many of the emergency agencies from around Oconee County in an effort to promote safety awareness and what these agencies do to promote the safety of the citizens of Oconee County.

Emergency agencies that are scheduled to participate include Oconee County Emergency Services, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Various Fire Departments and Rescue Squads around Oconee County, EMS, Hazmat, and CERT among others.

The Local Emergency Planning Commission is a partnership of business, governmental, and public safety agencies that meet once every quarter and hosts events, such as the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. It meets to help better plan for events and contingencies, such as a chemical emergency response and preparedness plan, and to build better understanding between all the agencies involved and to understand what resources are available.

Ceremony This Weekend to Honor Surviving World War Two Veterans Living in Oconee County

WWII

Release Courtesy of Janice Matheson:
Assistant Veterans Affairs Director – Oconee County

(Seneca)—132 of Oconee Counties’ greatest generation will be honored this Saturday at 2pm at the Gignilliat Community Center in Seneca, just off the 123 By Pass. Oconee County Veterans Affairs Director Jerry Dyar and his staff are providing, perhaps for the last time, an opportunity for Oconee County and her citizens to say a “collective thank you” to these great men and women. Dyar said there will, most likely, not be another time here in Oconee County where so many of our WWII veterans will be assembled at the same time. “World War II saw over 16-million of our men and women involved in both Europe and the Pacific fighting the Germans and Japanese at the same time”, said Dyar. “The cost of that war, as well as all other wars the United States has been involved in since our independence was declared back in 1776 has been very expensive for our nation—not only in financial burden but more importantly in terms of hhuman casualties”, the local VA Director added. “ Over 1,300,000 American lives have been sacrificed not to mention the millions who came back with severe wounds and various other psychological scars which have, in large part, paid for the great freedoms we are enjoying today across our land”, Dyar went on. “So it is Janice, Audrey and my hope that the Gignilliat Community Center Gym in Seneca will have its bleachers packed this Saturday afternoon at 2pm with grateful citizens from Oconee County as we tip our hats, again, to the wonderful heroes from Oconee County and World War II”.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Tourniquet Program Recognized

Tourniquet Case

Tourniquet Case

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and Oconee County were recognized at the annual meeting last week of the SCAC (South Carolina Association of Counties) Workers Comp Trust for a 2013 Outstanding Safety Achievement Award for the recent program in which every certified officer received a tourniquet kit.

John Henderson from SCAC will be presenting this award during the March 18th meeting of the Oconee County Council.

An application was submitted by Jeff Underwood, who is Captain of the Road Patrol division of the Sheriff’s Office, for consideration of the award.

Last June 15th, a barbeque benefit was held in Fair Play at the Gazebo Restaurant in an event that was called “Turn-A-Kit for a Cop.” With contributions and donations from groups and citizens of Oconee County and the Upstate, as well as the assistance from the Gazebo Restaurant, along with Lake and Land Realty, and Tactical Medical Solutions, 85 DOK kits were able to be obtained for deputies. The kits contain a tourniquet, plus other bandages, gauze, scissors, gloves and a mask for CPR and are used to provide basic first aid for officers and civilians until medical help can arrive.

Tactical Medical Solutions of Anderson donated twenty of the DOK (Downed Officer Kits) kits, with an estimated value of $700. Sixty-five kits were able to be purchased as over $2,000 was raised. Each kit has a retail value of $35.00. Tactical Medical Solutions also provided training in teaching deputies how to use the kits. The kits and training were provided a zero costs to Oconee County taxpayers.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Two North Carolina Residents on Drug Charges

Maria Carmen Herrera

Maria Carmen Herrera

Yair Ortega-Guzman

Yair Ortega-Guzman

001

002

003

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested two North Carolina residents on drug charges yesterday during a traffic stop along I-85 in southern Oconee County. A total of 4 pounds of methamphetamine was seized with a street value estimated around $180,000.

33 year old Yair Ortega-Guzman and 32 year old Maria Carmen Herrera, both of 222 Plucky Place in Candler, North Carolina, were booked yesterday into the Oconee County Detention Center. Ortega-Guzman was booked in around 1:22pm and Herrera was booked in around 1:37pm.

According to deputies, a traffic stop was initiated due to a traffic violation on a 2007 Gold Chevy Tahoe around 11:02am yesterday morning along I-85 northbound at exit 4, which is the Highway 243/Fair Play exit near the Anderson/Oconee County line.

Deputies report that Herrera was driving and Ortega-Guzman was the passenger. According to the incident report, Herrera said that they were on their way to Asheville, North Carolina from Gainesville, Georgia. Deputies became suspicious after the stories from Herrera and Ortega-Guzman conflicted and questions were asked by the deputies to each of them concerning if there was anything illegal in the vehicle.

After consent to search was given, a pocketbook was found in the back floorboard which deputies say contained a Ziploc bag with 1 pound of meth found inside. As the search continued and stories from both parties continued to conflict, a Glad container was found in the cargo area in a laundry basket wrapped in a while t-shirt that contained 3 pounds of meth. After reading each party their Miranda rights, deputies discovered the drugs were picked up in the Atlanta, Georgia area for transport to Asheville, North Carolina.

Ortega-Guzman and Herrera have each been charged with trafficking for bringing into the state 4 pounds of meth, plus each have been charged with conspiracy charges for the crime of trafficking. Ortega-Guzman also was charged with contraband charges after a quantity of cocaine was discovered on his person during the booking process at the Oconee County Detention Center.

“The deputies did a great job with the stop,” according the Captain Ken Washington of the Special Operations Division of the Sheriff’s Office. “They took a lot of meth off the streets and wherever it was going, it is not going to reach that location. Meth is an epidemic and it is not going to reach where it is a going. Our highways and interstates are a pipeline where drugs are transported. They did a great job with the traffic stop and being proactive and taking a large quantity of meth off the streets.”

“We are between two hubs for drug activity, which are Atlanta and Charlotte,” continues Captain Washington. “You want to get be able to get that type of quantity of meth, because it is going to be dispersed into smaller weights. 454 grams equals 1 pound and typically, a gram of meth can be sold for up to $100.”

“Wives on Duty Ministries” to hold First Meeting

Wives on Duty

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office encourages women of current and retired law enforcement officers to attend the first meeting of the Oconee County chapter of “Wives on Duty Ministries.”

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 18th at 7pm at Walhalla Wesleyan Church at 3210 Blue Ridge Boulevard in West Union. It is being presented by Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Gary Carr and Lisa Taylor, who is the wife of a South Carolina Highway Patrolman.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa at 864-784-4982 or Leigh Meadows at 864-710-9342.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Man on Multiple Traffic Offense Charges

Jaime Wayne Songer

Jaime Wayne Songer

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man earlier this morning on multiple traffic offense charges during routine road patrol operations.

According to deputies, an officer just before 1am this morning observed a motorcycle at the intersection of Highway 24 at Coneross Creek Road that failed to stop at a stop sign. The deputy then turned around to initiate a traffic stop as he heard the suspect accelerate rapidly. Once the deputy realized the subject would not stop, the deputy turned on his siren and called dispatch to alert them to his direction and speed. As speeds reached 90 miles per hour on Highway 24, the deputy verbally warned the subject to pull his vehicle over. The subject did not and the chase continued down Highway 24 towards the Tokeena Crossroads area.

The subject turned onto Crossroads Road and then onto Sitton Mill Road where speeds continued at up to 90 miles per hour. At times, according to the deputy, the subject slammed on his brakes in an attempt to the wreck the deputies’ vehicles. The subject then turned onto Woody Terry Road, where a second deputy joined the pursuit. The subject then drove through the stop sign onto Friendship Road.

According to the incident report, the subject attempted to turn from Friendship Road onto East Reedy Fork Road near Seneca, where at that time one of the deputies placed his vehicle in a position to prevent the subject from turning. The subject attempted to balance himself by pushing off the deputy’s car but eventually the bike turned over. Two of the deputies apprehended the subject while he tried to get up and flee. A third deputy arrived on scene to assist and the subject was placed in a fourth deputy’s car after being searched.

The subject arrested was Jamie Wayne Songer of 367 E. Reedy Fork Road in Seneca. He was issued 5 uniform traffic tickets on charges of disregarding a stop sign, no proof of insurance, improper vehicle license, defacement of license plate, and failure to stop for a blue light. Songer was taken to the Oconee County Detention Center while the motorcycle was towed and impounded. The Highway Patrol investigated the accident.

Songer was booked into the Detention Center around 9:09am this morning. As of 10:15am this morning, Songer was still at the Detention Center. His bond amount for the failure to stop for a blue light is a $5,000 surety bond. The bond amounts on the other 4 charges are a personal recognizance bond amount of $237.50 each.