He was once the top figure in North Augusta politics. Now police say Donald Kimbrough Ledford has been dabbling in a darker arena.
The former North Augusta mayor was arrested Wednesday for drug possession and distribution charges, including selling crack cocaine and marijuana near a school.
Mr. Ledford, 62, was arrested at his residence in the upscale Martintown III subdivision after North Augusta Department of Public Safety officers descended on the home with a search warrant at about 2:45 p.m. Mr. Ledford had been under investigation for several months, and undercover officers had purchased drugs at the home, Capt. Randy Mosley said.
As he was ushered to a holding cell at North Augusta police headquarters, Mr. Ledford told reporters he had been "set up." He blamed a woman who stole his car.
An investigator with the department said the claim was untrue.
Mr. Ledford's charges include two counts of distribution of crack cocaine, two counts of possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana.
And, because his home on Bolin Court was within a half-mile of Paul Knox Middle School, Mr. Ledford was also charged with two counts of distribution of crack cocaine within proximity of a school, two counts of possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute within the proximity of a school and one count of distribution of marijuana within the proximity of a school.
During the search Wednesday, police said two men arrived at the navy blue, woodframe house bearing a drug delivery. Kenneth Barnard Williams, 19, of the 100 block of Telfair Street, and Michael Oliver Aaron, 31, of the 200 block of Telfair Street, were subsequently arrested on drug possession charges.
Mr. Ledford was mayor of North Augusta from 1981 until 1985. While mayor he almost doubled the city's size via annexation. He also served a term as president of the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce.
Former co-workers said they had not seen or heard from Mr. Ledford, a retired State Farm Insurance agent, for many years. He has two adult children, but no family members were living with him on Bolin Court, police said.
Last year, he was convicted in South Carolina of driving under the influence and reckless driving.
"He was a good mayor," said former North Augusta mayor and city councilman Tom Greene, who worked with Mr. Ledford while on council. "This does surprise me. When I worked with him we were working on positive things for the city."
Reach Johnny Edwards and Josh Gelinas at (706) 724-0851