By DEUCE NIVEN
Former Chadbourn Police Department chief William Anthony Spivey was arrested Monday on 73 counts of drug trafficking, embezzlement and fraud related to his police work.
SBI special agents made the arrest about 3:45 p.m. Monday in Fair Bluff, taking the former officer into custody without incident, a news release from the state agency said.
Spivey, 35, was held at the Columbus County Detention Center under a $665,000 secured bond, but was expected to be moved to an out-of-county facility for his safety.
A first appearance hearing for Spivey was scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Columbus County Courthouse in Whiteville.
Spivey was charged with 31 counts each of felony alter, steal or destroy evidence and felony embezzlement by a public official; four counts each of felony trafficking opiates by possession and felony trafficking opiates/opioids by transportation; two counts of obtaining controlled substance by prescription misrepresentation; and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
An SBI investigation involving Spivey began March 2 at the request of District Attorney Jon David. In a March 4 letter to Interim Chadbourn Town Manager Jerome Chestnut David said he had “serious concerns” about Spivey’s leadership.
Chestnut suspended Spivey without pay on March 5. Spivey resigned his position on April 6.
David’s concerns included narcotics evidence not sent to the State Crime Laboratory for analysis, despite a May 2019 warning from David to the police chief to use the state lab for those case.
Arriving late to a court hearing on March 4, Spivey was unable to produce evidence requested by the court including a firearm.
“Moreover, a review of what evidence he brought gave my prosecutors serious concerns about the possibility that the evidence had been tampered,” David wrote.
A former Tabor City Police Department officer, Spivey later joined the Chadbourn force and was named interim chief in April 2018, permanent chief that July.
Lt. Ken Elliott is currently serving as interim chief.
Look for more on this story in this week’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.