Originally created 01/08/97

Area Briefs



Police look for thief in store robberies

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office has released a photo showing the suspect wanted in connection with two armed robberies at local convenience stores Sunday.

The photo was taken from surveillance camera footage from the Golden Pantry at the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and S.C. 118 Bypass, which was robbed about 6:35 p.m.

About 12:05 a.m., the Depot Food Store at the intersection of Howlandville Road and South Carolina Highway 421 was also robbed. Police say the same man was responsible.

The suspect is described as a white male, 40 to 46 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall and weighing between 150 and 185 pounds with short brown hair.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact sheriff's Investigator Robert Anderson at (803) 642-1761.

Grovetown police seize drugsGrovetown police and agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation seized $75,000 worth of uncut methamphetamine and arrested a Roswell, Ga., man during a sting operation Tuesday afternoon.

The seizure - the largest in Grovetown history - was the result of a series of telephone conversations between undercover officers and Renato Alvarez, 24, of 7000 Roswell Road.

Mr. Alvarez, traveling from Atlanta, met the officers at an abandoned house in Grovetown to sell them a kilogram of the drug and was taken into custody about 3 p.m., Grovetown Sgt. Al Reeves said.

Chief John Tomberlin said the sting was part of an ongoing investigation.

Chief Tomberlin said he suspects Mr. Alvarez was part of a ring that stretched as far as California and Mexico and might be connected to a $35,000 drug seizure by the agency in December.

Police hiring rules outlined

ATLANTA - Conviction of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime will disqualify anyone attempting to become a police officer in Georgia, Attorney General Mike Bowers says.

A new federal law prevents spouse abusers from having guns, and the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council asked Mr. Bowers to rule on whether the law disqualifies them from becoming police officers. He issued his opinion Dec. 27.

The opinion added, however, that decisions on what to do with police officers who already are certified and employed will be up to the individual agencies.

The law, approved Sept. 30, prohibits anyone - including police officers, federal agents and soldiers - from owning or carrying a gun after conviction of any crime involving domestic abuse.

Carter to visit Latin America

ATLANTA - The Carter Center announced Tuesday that former President Jimmy Carter will be traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean later this month.

Mr. Carter will visit Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Jamaica from Jan. 15 to 26 to consult with leaders in preparation for a consultation at the center on "The 21st Century Agenda for the Americas."

"The Carter Center has had a long-standing interest in Latin American issues," Mr. Carter said. "We plan to meet with regional leaders .°.°. to learn their views about the state of inter-American relations."

Many of those Mr. Carter is expected to meet with are members of the center's Council of Freely Elected Heads of Government - a group of 27 current and former presidents and prime ministers of the Americas.

EEOC denies carpet firm's appeal

ATLANTA - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has denied an appeal by a carpet company accused of firing five saleswomen because of their gender.

Last month, the EEOC concluded females in salaried positions in the Dalton-based World Carpet Inc.'s credit department had been subjected to "discrimination with regard to wages and job classification."

The EEOC also found females in hourly positions in the customer service department had been paid "less than similarly situated males."

World Carpet appealed the decision.

One of the five women who filed the discrimination complaint in March 1993, Patricia Folino of Philadelphia, said she received a letter Tuesday informing her of the EEOC's ruling.

"Discrimination is a very, very hard thing to prove (but) we uncovered a whole pattern in the company where they don't promote women. .°.°. They have a whole history of it," Ms. Folino said.

Feds order district to desegregate

GEORGETOWN - The warning from federal prosecutors to Georgetown County school officials is clear: Desegregate or face legal action.

The options could include closing three high schools and some middle schools.

"That's the Justice Department's first compromise to get things going," school board Chairman George Geer said.

"The thing that's important here is, we have segregated schools at Choppee High School and Choppee Middle School and three other primary schools. We are going to have to address that issue and do it in a way that's responsible," he said.

In its recent letter to the board, the department says the district is violating a 1971 consent decree that mandates desegregation. Lawyers from the department's civil rights division suggested closing Andrews, Pleasant Hill and Choppee high schools and opening a consolidated high school in another location such as Mingo Creek or Brown's Ferry.

Former police officers arraignedGREENVILLE - Two former Spartanburg police officers have been arraigned on federal drug charges.

James C. Gilmer, 42, was arraigned Monday on charges of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Mr. Gilmer, a seven-year veteran, was arrested in November after admitting he provided classified information to targets of federal investigations in exchange for crack cocaine, according to an FBI affidavit.

He left the police department on Dec. 19, director A. Tony Fisher said.

Terry Gory, 36, was arraigned on charges of conspiracy to possess crack cocaine with intent to distribute, and obstruction of justice.

Mr. Gory left the department in 1992.

The federal arrest warrant charges Mr. Gory and Mr. Gilmer provided police information to a drug organization between 1991 and 1994 in exchange for crack.

U.S. Magistrate William Catoe continued the bonds that were set after the men were arrested.

Poultry company enters agreement

A poultry company in Saluda County has entered a consent agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to be truthful about the weight of chickens delivered to it for processing.

Gentry Poultry Co. in Ward, S.C., failed to weigh live poultry immediately upon its arrival at the plant and falsified scale records, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Greenwood, S.C., in July.

U.S. Attorney Rene Josey said company officials have agreed not to use unfair or deceptive practices in dealing with its poultry growers.

Under the Packers and Stockyards Act, corporations involved in obtaining live poultry sign growing contracts with farmers, who feed and nurture the chicks until they are marketable age. The poultry dealer then picks up the flock of chickens for processing.

- Compiled by Mike Hill