Whittle’s nephews have more than a little problem

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Last week was not a particularly good week for Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle and his family.
Two of Whittle’s nephews were arrested on drug trafficking charges after being pulled over by Richmond County deputies along Interstate 20 with approximately 20 pounds of marijuana.
Not good. Not good at all.
Kenneth Adam Whittle, 25, of Augusta; Walter Taylor Hensley, 24, of Beaufort, S.C.; and James Derek Hurt, 26, of Augusta, were all booked in the Richmond County jail and are currently facing felony charges.
Such serious charges could result in significant prison time for the sheriff’s nephews.
According to state law here in Georgia, if someone is charged with carrying more than 10 pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute, it is a felony charge that could result between five to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.
Earlier this year, a man from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was caught with 20 pounds of pot and received seven years in a federal prison.
Just last week, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers arrested two men after finding three suitcases full of marijuana, which weighed 20 pounds. It was estimated to be worth more than $90,000.
If convicted in Ohio, these men could face up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Those are not the kind of prison sentences that Whittle would want attached to family members.
And it’s unfortunate, because Whittle was flying high this year following recent news reports that Columbia County experienced a sharp drop in reported crimes in 2012, according to the Columbia County News-Times.
The overall crime rate fell 4.6 percent from 5,240 reported crimes in 2011 to 4,999 in 2012, according to the newspaper.
“There’s a serious partnership with our community,” Whittle told the paper. “You go to some places and people look at certain crimes and just chalk it up. But people don’t do that here in Columbia County. They go, ‘uh-uh — not in Columbia County — I’m calling the sheriff.’ And I love that.”
Well, his nephews better get on the phone and call their uncle, too, because those boys are definitely going to need some help. But, unfortunately, they are in such serious trouble that even Clay Whittle can’t make those charges disappear.