Son of man running for sheriff charged with drug trafficking

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. —

Alex Underwood spent 2012 running for sheriff in Chester County.  The former South Carolina law enforcement department agent has decades of experience, including locking up drug dealers.

On Wednesday morning, Underwood was saddened to learn that his own 27-year-old son was facing drug trafficking charges.

"I’m hurt by it, that he won't make the right choices," Underwood told Channel 9.

Jacquese Underwood and Duane Harrison were arrested Tuesday on Shenandoah Circle in Rock Hill.   York County drug agents said a package containing $100,000 worth of cocaine, a kilo, was delivered to a house there. 

When the delivery happened, police moved in and arrested Jacquese Underwood.  Agents said Harrison took off running, but he was caught in the woods not far away.

"That would be a major drug trafficker, to have a kilo of cocaine," said Marvin Brown, commander of the county's multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement unit.

He said Underwood and Harrison are not small-time dealers either.

"These aren't the guys dealing drugs on the street. These are the guys above the ones on the street," Brown said.

A check of his criminal record found Jacquese Underwood has a past conviction for drug trafficking as well as drug possession and weapons-related charges. 

Alex Underwood said he's disappointed as any parent would be, but he has no relationship with his son, and hasn't seen him in 10 years. 

"He knows what is right. He knows what's wrong.  He was raised the right way," Alex Underwood said. "Once they get grown and get out on their own, you've instilled in them to do the right thing, you hope they do what you taught them, but every once in awhile they get off track."

Channel 9 asked Alex Underwood if he thought the arrest could hurt his chances to be Chester County's next sheriff.

"I don't think it'll have an impact on anything," he said. "People know me.  They know I’m gonna be fair.  My son is no better than anyone's son or daughter.  Drugs impact everyone's family in some way."

Underwood is running against incumbent Sheriff Richard Smith, and fellow challenger Robert Cauthen.