A Jasper County Sheriff’s Deputy cited for public disorderly conduct following a Bluffton nightclub raid, is on leave. Club ‘Burroughs’ was also owned by a former Jasper and Colleton sheriff’s deputy, who was arrested on alcohol and weapons charges. Bluffton Police continue to investigate.
Burroughs was raided in the early hours of Saturday morning. Since then, NEWS 3 has learned more on the nine people charged.
Current Jasper County Deputy Jermaine Johnson was cited with public disorderly conduct in the raid. Johnson is currently on leave, according to Jasper Chief Deputy Roy Hughes. Johnson had worked for Estill Police, the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office, and Ridgeland Police before going to Jasper.
Records from the SC Criminal Justice Academy show the club owner, Keith Fernandez, was formerly employed as a deputy in Jasper County and Colleton County. His employment was terminated in Jasper County, for violating agency policy. On Thursday, Chief Deputy Hughes said he could not explain the violation, because it is a personnel matter. Records show Fernandez was terminated from Colleton County also, “at the pleasure of an elected official.”
From the single club operation, 11 citations were issued, 3 weapons warrants were issued and served, as well as one drug warrant pending. Bluffton Police seized two 40 caliber Glocks, one 40 caliber Smith/Wesson, one 45 caliber Springfield, 59 rounds of ammunition, $260 cash from door cover charges, 610 bottles of illegal alcoholic beverages, and .16 grams of suspected heroin.
This raid was prompted when police found the club had no business license and therefore no license to serve alcohol.
“[We] found that these people were just paying money to get into a bar where it was just buffet style beer and alcohol,” Bluffton Police Officer Jake Higgins says.
Neighboring business owners say the club, which was located on 39 Persimmon Street, was one in a string of unruly bars and clubs formerly in the space. One business owner spoke with the unit’s owner, who promised no rough behavior would come out of Burroughs.
“The people that rent the place to them had said you wouldn’t have to worry about it, because one of them is a cop, and he’ll make sure everything is alright,” business owner Butch Judkins says.
Judkins is relieved the club is now gone. He understands the unit owner plans to allow no more bars or clubs take the space.
Police say there could be more charges pending.
“We need to make sure that we’re doing all of the right things in the right way to get the right kind of people in there that aren’t going to cause these types of problems,” Officer Higgins says.