LAWFUEL – A former Cocke County sheriff is accused of being paid thous…

LAWFUEL – A former Cocke County sheriff is accused of being paid thousands of dollars in exchange for protecting illegal gambling operations while in office, FBI records show.

D.C. Ramsey, 67, allegedly sent deputies to cockfighting pits to keep out suspicious vehicles and had those who ran the operations warned they were being investigated by authorities, according to an FBI affidavit filed in May 2004.

The affidavit, which was unsealed earlier this month in federal court, sought permission to conduct a secret search of the Del Rio Cockfighting Pit as part of the “Rose Thorn” corruption probe.

Authorities have been cracking down on gambling, illegal liquor sales and prostitution in Cocke County since 2001. More than 180 people have been charged, including eight local lawmen, and two cockfighting arenas were shuttered.

Ramsey, who resigned in January 2006 amid the arrests, hasn’t been charged. Ramsey and his attorney did not return calls to the Knoxville News Sentinel for comment.

Federal prosecutors also refused to comment, citing the pending investigation.

The affidavit outlines evidence gathered by the FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The information was obtained mainly from informants or cooperatingwitnesses.

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