Former Chester County Supervisor trafficked meth on the job, SC AG says

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A South Carolina grand jury has indicted the Chester County Supervisor for allegedly using government cars to run a methamphetamine trafficking operation while on the clock.

Chester County Supervisor Kenneth Shane Stuart has been indicted by a grand jury on several charges of distributing and trafficking methamphetamine. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Thursday that the grand jury indictments were unsealed against Stuart.

The indictments charge not only public corruption but also narcotics offenses. The state attorney general’s office said Stuart also conspired to steal catalytic converters from county-owned vehicles.

“A significant portion of the drug addicts meth addicts in Chester County were being supplied by this particular organization,” said Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey.

>> Read the indictments here and here.

Stuart, 47, has served as the elected Chester County Supervisor since March of 2015. He was re-elected to another four-year term in November of 2018. County supervisors in South Carolina typically perform administrative duties, working with an elected county council.

The Chester County Council held an emergency meeting Thursday morning “to receive legal advice regarding county administrative proceedings,” officials said. County leaders said Stuart was is in jail and that SLED was investigating.

“This is our leader in this capacity and quite frankly, we are embarrassed," Dorsey said.

>> The SC Attorney General’s Office, the Chester County Sheriff’s Office and SLED will hold a news conference on this case Friday afternoon in Richburg, South Carolina.

In the first indictment, Stuart was charged with conspiracy, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine, and common law misconduct in office.

The penalty for conspiracy is up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of no more than $25,000. The crime is a felony.

The penalty for distribution of methamphetamine is 0-15 years in prison and/or a fine of $25,000 per count. The crime is also a felony.

The penalty for a violation of common law misconduct in office is up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine at the discretion of the court. That crime is a misdemeanor.

In the second indictment, Stuart was charged with trafficking methamphetamine 10 grams or more. The penalty for this felony crime is 3-10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Stuart was also charged with an arrest warrant for trafficking methamphetamine 400 grams or more, which is punishable by 25-30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Officials said over the last few weeks, Stuart trafficked meth once in York County and twice in Chester County.

State investigators said Stuart was reportedly working the drug operation during the workday when he was expected to do work for the county. They used county cars, figuring no police officers would stop or search a car with a government seal on the door.

“If it is proven in a court of law, that is an abuse of power that Chester County cannot afford neither can York County," said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Also charged in the meth trafficking investigation was Ace Donovon Hembree, 32, and Brittany Jane Oneppo, 40.

Hembree was the former Animal Control Director for the county.

The Chester County Sheriff’s Office said in a release that it has been “assisting the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) in an investigation involving the trafficking of illegal drugs, leading to the arrest of several individuals within the past 24 hours.”

The sheriff said that the investigation is ongoing.

The governor removed Stuart from his post Thursday night and appointed Wylie Fredrick as the new Chester County Supervisor.

Stuart will have a bond hearing Friday at 10 a.m. in Richland County.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.