FBI, SLED raid Chester Co. Sheriff’s Office

Agents searched office of Sheriff, Chief Deputy, sources say
Updated: Apr. 29, 2019 at 4:08 PM EDT
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CHESTER, SC (WBTV) - Agents with the FBI and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division executed a search warrant at the Chester County Sheriff’s Office Monday morning.

For most of the day, two big, blue FBI vehicles sat in front of the agency’s building and other unmarked cars belonging to federal agents filled the parking lot.

A sign bearing the name of the sheriff--Sheriff Alex “Big A” Underwood--welcomed people to the Chester County Law Enforcement Complex but Underwood himself seemed to be absent for most, if not all, of the day.

A source who was inside the office at the time agents arrived with the search warrant said agents were specifically looking for evidence in the offices of Underwood, Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse and a captain over the narcotics division.

Agents left having confiscated Sprouse’s phone, the source said, and a second phone belonging to a major.

A spokesman for SLED confirmed to WBTV on Monday morning that the agency was assisting the FBI with an investigation at the office but referred all other questions to federal authorities.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the ongoing investigation say the FBI is probing allegations of corruption against Underwood; including misuse of agency funds and resources.

That is a second, separate investigation in addition to a civil rights investigation launched earlier this year, multiple sources tell WBTV.

WBTV has obtained a copy of a grand jury subpoena issued to a witness in the civil rights investigation.

That inquiry centers on a Chester County man who was arrested by Underwood himself late last year while standing on his porch shooting video and broadcasting a Facebook Live of an active law enforcement investigation.

The video shows Underwood take the man into custody while he was standing on his porch. He was charged with disorderly conduct and larceny, stemming from a piece of Underwood’s radio that got lost in the man’s yard.

Major Dwayne Robinson of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement to reporters gathered outside the sheriff’s office building on Monday:

“The Sheriff does not have a statement at this time. He and the staff here are cooperating fully with an obvious investigative matter. The Sheriff does plan to make an official on air interview about this and other matters when he is cleared to do so.”

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