Federal authorities believe the sheriff and other county officials took part in a conspiracy to deny a convicted drug dealer, George White, his constitutional rights. Crum owed White $3,000 for campaign signs, and instead of paying the bill, he sent an undercover police officer to buy oxycodone tablets from White, federal prosecutors have said in charges against other county officials.
Once White was arrested, according to prosecutors, he began talking to investigators about providing prescription pills to Eugene Crum. Crum and other county officials then concocted a scheme to give White a light sentence if he switched lawyers and stopped talking, according to prosecutors.
Former Mingo circuit judge Michael Thornsbury and former county prosecutor Michael Sparks have pleaded guilty in connection to the alleged scheme. Former Mingo county commissioner David Baisden, who allegedly also was part of the plan, has pleaded guilty to an unrelated federal charge.
E.J. Crum said his mother has proof that his father paid White the $3,000 federal prosecutors say he owed for the campaign materials. The younger Crum said his father was friends with White and warned him to get clean of drugs. When White didn't, his father went after him, E.J. Crum said.
White was arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver oxycodone and morphine with an attempt to deliver. White is trying to get his guilty plea to the charges thrown out.
As sheriff, Crum took a hard stance against prescription pill abuse and campaigned on a platform promising to target drug dealers. He led a prescription pill crackdown called "Operation Zero Tolerance."
E.J. Crum said his father never used drugs and was vehemently opposed to them. He said his father helped his son through his own battle with prescription pill abuse, and wanted to help other families do the same.
"He saw what I went through and didn't want it for anyone else," E.J. Crum said.
Federal agents also had been investigating Crum in the weeks before his death on suspicion of mail fraud, according to an unsealed search warrant. Crum allegedly laundered money by arranging to buy campaign signs with cash obtained from a doctor convicted of running a pill mill. According to the warrant, Dr. Diane Shafer paid "hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash" to White for making Crum's campaign signs.
E.J. Crum said he's joining his mother and sister in calling for more recognition of the good things Sheriff Crum did for the community before his death.
"The heart my dad had, the great person he was is all being washed away by all these lies," E.J. Crum said.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.