South Carolina

Recreation Commission official arrested on multiple drug charges

A top-ranking official in the under-fire Richland County Recreation Commission, the son of commission’s executive director, has been arrested and charged with multiple drug trafficking and possession offenses, including crimes allegedly committed near a school.

James Anthony Brown, 38, director of recreation for the commission, was arrested by Richland County Sheriff’s deputies Friday and charged with:

Trafficking more than 10 pounds of marijuana

Trafficking more than 400 grams of methamphetamine, a felony carrying 25 to 30 years in prison

Possession with intent to distribute marijuana

Possession with intent to distribute ecstasy

Possession of a weapon during a violent crime

Possession with intent to distribute marijuana near a school

Possession with intent to distribute ecstasy near a school

Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine near a school.

Brown was arrested Friday near Killian Elementary School, at Killian Green Drive and Clemson Road in northeast Richland County. He is being held at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

Brown’s arrest grew out of the sheriff’s department’s investigation into the Recreation Commission, initiated by Richland County legislators after numerous lawsuits and complaints have come against the commission and its executive director, Brown’s father, James Brown III.

The FBI and the State Law Enforcement Division also are continuing to probe the commission, which receives more than $13 million in Richland County taxpayer funding each year but operates with little oversight.

Since March, at least four current or former employees of the Recreation Commission have filed lawsuits against the agency, alleging various complaints against Brown III and others associated with the commission. The complaints include sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviors on the part of Brown III and some staffers and board members.

Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.