WILLIAMSON, W.Va. -- Eugene Crum stood on the courthouse steps in January, the night he took office as Mingo County sheriff, promising to lead an unprecedented crackdown on the county's prescription pill epidemic.
That crackdown, dubbed "Operation Zero Tolerance," led to the indictment of 72 people for drug-related offenses and collected more than $75,000 in cash.
After Crum was shot and killed in April, he was remembered as a crusader who wanted to end the cycle of addiction that touched many families in Mingo County.
But Mingo County residents are now learning that, before his death, FBI agents believed Crum illegally took prescription painkillers from a drug dealer while he was a county magistrate.
After he was elected sheriff, Crum allegedly took part in a conspiracy to stop the dealer from talking to the FBI, according to a federal charge filed against Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury Thursday.
Crum's portrait hung outside the Mingo County Courthouse until last week, when his widow, Rosie Crum, took it down.
Newly appointed Mingo County Sheriff James Smith said his department would re-examine all drug arrests made by Crum.
Smith said cooperating with the FBI is necessary to restore the public's trust in the sheriff's department. Crum has shattered that trust, said Smith, who was appointed by county commissioners as sheriff earlier this week. He ran against Crum in the Democratic primary for sheriff last year.
"It's sad that these people were entrusted by the people to do a job and they abused their power," Smith said. "There is no excuse for it."
Crum, 59, was shot to death April 3 as he sat in his police cruiser in downtown Williamson. Police said Tennis Melvin Maynard, 33, of Delbarton, shot Crum twice at close range.
After the sheriff's death, Rosie Crum served as interim sheriff. She resigned last month, after federal charges were initially filed against Thornsbury and Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden.
When Rosie Crum stepped down, she recommended Dave Rockel, whom she had named chief field deputy for the sheriff's department, be appointed sheriff.
Rockel was mentioned in Thursday's federal court filing. Prosecutors say Eugene Crum owed $3,000 to sign company owner George White -- but instead of paying, Crum sent an undercover officer to buy drugs from White. Crum and Rockel (who was then Williamson police chief) filed a police report on the incident and searched White's office, according to prosecutors.
Rockel was fired Tuesday from the sheriff's department. He said Thursday he didn't know how to describe how he felt after hearing of the allegations that Crum had received illegal pills.
"It's just more shock value, I guess," he said.
Federal prosecutors say Crum, Thornsbury, Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks and County Commissioner David Baisden conspired to keep White from talking to federal investigators about Crum's alleged purchase of pills.
Rockel was not mentioned in that part of the court filing, and said he did not conspire to have White hire a lawyer favored by Crum and other officials.
"I never done anything like that," Rockel said Thursday. "I just did textbook stuff. When we make controlled buys, there's a protocol we follow."