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RALEIGH, N.C. -- A former Brunswick County sheriff and convicted felon arrested days ago on a firearms possession charge has died in jail.

Ronald Emery Hewett died Saturday afternoon as he was being held in the New Hanover County Detention Center. The county was holding Hewett under a contract for the U.S. Marshals Service. Deputy U.S. Marshal Bryan Konig says North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation is looking into what happened.Hewett was in custody after federal authorities charged him with possession of a firearm by a felon. Federal agents said they found multiple firearms at his home in Supply this week.

He was due for a court hearing on Friday. Hewett defense attorney William Peregoy said Hewett, who was in his 50s, had multiple health problems and shouldn't have been jailed.

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