Prosecutors: S.C. treasurer to enter rehab

/ Source: The Associated Press

The state treasurer who was suspended after an indictment last week on a cocaine distribution charge will seek treatment at a rehabilitation center, prosecutors said.

Thomas Ravenel's attorneys "informed us he's doing that," U.S. Attorney Reggie Lloyd said Wednesday. "Right now, we don't have any reason to say, 'You can't go anywhere.'"

Ravenel's father, Arthur, told The Associated Press this week that his son has a drug problem and that the two had spoken about getting professional help.

Thomas Ravenel, 44, did not return calls left at his Charleston office, and his attorney, Bart Daniel, would not discuss questions about rehab.

Ravenel and another man are charged with conspiracy to distribute less than 500 grams, or about 1.1 pounds, of cocaine between 2005 and last week. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The State newspaper of Columbia reported Wednesday that Ravenel would enter the Sierra Tucson treatment center in Arizona.

If convicted, Ravenel would lose his office. An interim replacement has been named, and lawmakers would pick his permanent successor.

Ravenel founded the Ravenel Development Corp., a commercial real estate development company. He funded his own campaign for U.S. Senate in 2004 and finished a close third in the Republican primary.

His father was a powerful politician from Charleston who served eight years in the U.S. House and is a former state representative and state senator.