|Agencies divvy up $204,000 seized in September|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Feb. 13, 2004 -- Sulphur Springs Police Department is reaping the benefits of its share of $204,000 seized last September after a traffic stop on Interstate 30.
Suspecting the money was to be used in drug trafficking, it was confiscated and turned over to Hopkins County District Attorney Frank Long, and legal steps were begun to forfeit the funds to the police department.
Police Chief Jim Bayuk said Wednesday the city's share of the money will be used to purchase four vehicles for use by the department's criminal investigation division, one vehicle for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, and a new truck for the animal control department.
"We stand to get about $137,700," Bayuk said. "And, yes sir, we do need some vehicles."
A percentage of the money, $51,000 will go to the district attorney's forfeiture fund. Hopkins County Sheriff's Department will get the remaining $15,300 because the traffic stop and actual seizure occurred outside the city limits.
The funds that go to the sheriff's department must be used for law enforcement purposes, just as with the city.
District Attorney Frank Long said the amount that goes to his office is used to pay the salary of one of the support workers in the office, as well as to supplement salaries paid to assistant prosecutors and to keep a reserve in the bank.
Long said that more than $100,000 from the forfeiture fund was used to purchase audio-visual equipment for the district courtroom.
Another $270,000, confiscated earlier in the year by Police Cpl. Jason Ricketson when he arrested three out-of-state residents on charges of money laundering, is still awaiting a final ruling by the courts.
The forfeiture proceedings for that money has not gone uncontested, however. The district attorney said legal action has been initiated in an attempt to prevent the forfeiture of that money, which could also be shared by county law enforcement agencies.