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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Police make $500,000 drug money bust

Friday, August 24, 2007

An erratic driving traffic stop on westbound Interstate 70 Wednesday morning led to the largest cash seizure in the county's history.

Putnam County Sheriff's deputies seized an estimated $500,000 in suspected drug money after they pulled over a two-door Mercedes Benz convertible, Sheriff Mark Frisbie said.

When deputies who were working as part of the Intense Criminal Enforcement program stopped the car, the two men inside said they were driving from Long Island, New York, to Oklahoma. The story seemed suspicious to the investigating deputy and when the deputy's drug-sniffing dog signaled that the car might have drugs, officers asked to the search the vehicle, Frisbie said.

When the men consented, officers brought the car to Steele's Auto in Cloverdale. Upon thorough inspection, deputies found a hidden compartment in the rear of the vehicle with several bundles of money, Frisbie said.

The drug dog signaled to officers that it smelled drugs on the money. This means that the cash had a substantial amount of drug residue and was almost certainly meant to purchase narcotics trafficked through Mexico, the sheriff said. An insubstantial amount of marijuana was found on the men but no weapons or other drugs, he said.

When officers found the stash, the men agreed to sign the car and the money over to authorities, Frisbie said.

Federal law allows police to seize cash that can't be accounted for with a bank statement that is in excess of $10,000, so deputies would have been able to take custody of the money even without the consent of the men.

Since the men had broken no law, deputies released them. They were last seen in Cloverdale.

The money, which has yet to be formally counted by a bank, will go into the Putnam County prosecutor's officer seizure fund, Frisbie said. The prosecutor can use the cash to fund his office and pay for training and equipment for local law enforcement agencies.

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Why doesn't this money go into the county general fund to pay for the manpower and gas, insurance etc. that the rest of the county taxpayers are supplying to the Sheriff's Dept. Or at least to the theft victims when the rest of the county is left unprotected. By the words of the deputies themselves, "we cannot keep up during the day writing the reports for everything that happens throughout the county at night.

The state police should take care of I-70, the sheriffs' dept should be covering the rest of rural putnam county.

Besides, come election time Bookwalter will be passing this money out as if it was his to start with to police departments for them to purchase automatic weapons.

-- Posted by Concerned1 on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 9:59 AM

I agree somewhat with the previous posting of concerned1: The comments of not having the manpower for good coverage of the county I would think would be a no brainer! Keep the county officers patroling the county, and off the interstate. I do understand from time to time the county does assit ISP.

Even if its extra patrols on overtime helping the State Police. I congradulate the the department for this big bust. But is it really in the counties best intrest to have the county partols on the interestate? And not in the county rual areas fighting crime there. Concerned2 -

-- Posted by Concerned2 on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 12:36 PM

At least we know we arent gonna have to worry about this money getting stolen from the county.

-- Posted by concerned3 on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 6:02 PM

First of all , How do we know that the money really came from where Frisbe said it came from? How was it tested ? by a Dog? Lets let the Sheriff dept. Patrol the county. Leave the I-70 to the State police and turn the money over to the state police.I remember watching a program on tv where the police in Louisiana got caught scaming people on their roads to collect automobiles and money from innocent people ,let's not let this happen here.

-- Posted by cmlandscape on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 9:33 PM

As to the comment posted by concerned3.

We can worry about it being misappropriated and going into some one's pocket. We already had this problem at the Sheriff's Dept. a couple of months ago. They did all the arresting and charging, then it just disappeared from the news real quick with no follow up to the public. There are a lot of things that can be done for the county that could lessen the burden on us tax payers. The money should be monitored and the people informed as to where it goes. Maybe they should have a public vote of how the money is proposed to be used.

-- Posted by randykekar on Sat, Aug 25, 2007, at 12:19 AM

Congratulations to the Deputies that made this bust.

To those leaving negative comments: Get a grip on reality, This is a huge bust. Our deputies have made several large busts like this. But what I hear from you is ignore the war on drugs because your neighbor's dog urinated in your yard and you want the deputies to deal with that.

To the Banner: Any reason the Deputies names were left off? Doesn't come across as a congrats article. Maybe just another attempt by your newspaper to smear the Sheriff's Dept

-- Posted by Knowthetruth on Sat, Aug 25, 2007, at 9:51 AM

If you just seized over 1/2 a million dollars would you want your name printed in the paper. Think about it!! These guys did a great job!!

-- Posted by concerned3 on Sat, Aug 25, 2007, at 10:16 AM

Of course they turned over the money with no objection. Wouldn't you? That is a no brainer to them ... give up the money, no jail, get out of town. Simple! Now they will go straight to the source and start over. The drug war continues.

-- Posted by cvilleguy on Sat, Aug 25, 2007, at 11:02 AM

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