Wilkinson sheriff’s brother, nephew jailed on drug charges

The nephew and brother of Wilkinson County Sheriff Richard Chatman are behind bars at the Wilkinson County jail facing various drug charges, the sheriff confirmed Wednesday.

Chatman said Wilkinson County deputies and investigators with the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force arrested 20-year-old Christopher Chatman, of Irwinton, and his father, 38-year-old Michael Chatman, of McIntyre, on Tuesday in connection with a drug investigation that began about two months ago.

Christopher Chatman was apprehended during a traffic stop at the corner of Allen Street and Ga. 57 at about 6:15 p.m. Authorities executed a search warrant at his father’s home on Old Highway 441 later Tuesday, arresting Michael Chatman after locating drugs and drug paraphernalia, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

The sheriff’s nephew is charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, according to the news release. The elder Chatman is charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and possession of a schedule III drug, authorities said. Both remain in custody at the jail without bond, according to the sheriff.

Sheriff Chatman said his nephew is a student at Central Georgia Technical College and his brother is an employee at the BASF chalk plant in McIntyre. Neither men previously have faced drug charges, he said.

The drug investigation was concentrated in Wilkinson County, the sheriff said, releasing no other details about it.

No other charges are expected in Wilkinson County, Chatman said. He was not aware of cases in other jurisdictions.

In a statement, Chatman said “the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office is and will always be committed to eliminating criminal activity regardless of who is involved.” Chatman said he was present Tuesday as deputies raided his brother’s home, finding cocaine and marijuana.

“It’s nothing that you like to believe. It hurts you,” the three-term sheriff and 27-year law enforcement officer said. “Family members are family members and you still love them. But when you’re sworn to do your duty, you’re sworn to do your duty.”