By LeaAnne Klentzman
In a Narcotics Task Force meeting of the Board of Governors, checks totaling over $640,000 in seized assets were divvied up between participating agency members.
In what is expected to be his last Narcotics Task Force meeting, retiring Sheriff Milton Wright distributed some $600 thousand dollars in Chapter 59 seized assets to his fellow agency participants in the Narcotics Task Force.
Sheriff’s spokesman Bob Haenel said the funds were seized based on the Chapter 59 statute which allows for cash proceeds from narcotics enforcement to be awarded back to participating law enforcement agencies. Haenel identified the participating agencies in this particular Task Force to be the Sheriff’s Office, Rosenberg Police Department, Missouri City Police Department and the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office. Each of these agencies was awarded an equal share of the proceeds to continue to run their narcotics enforcement operations.
Haenel said, “In the past three years, Task Force agents have seized $3.8 million in cash.” He then explained that in order for the funds to be awarded to law enforcement, the assets must first go through a seizure process in the court system; then if approved by the courts, those assets are eventually returned to the Task Force for distribution. Haenel said the Sheriff’s Office uses those seized assets to pay for Task Force equipment, office space, furniture, vehicles and supplies as the law prohibits using these funds for salaries.
Identifying other seizures by this Task force, Haenel said, “ In the past three years, the Task Force has collected: 9,589 pounds of marijuana; 23,605 marijuana plants; 8 kilos of cocaine; 8 kilos of methamphetamine; and 77,998 doses of pharmaceuticals and have made 507 arrests.”