The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department is having a lot of success curbing the drug problem in the county. The Sheriff and those on the drug unit said the drug buy money they are allotted each year helps.
The department receives about $70,000 each year in drug buy money. The money is part of their budget, which is paid for by the taxpayers. Lt. Russell Davenport with the drug unit said they use the money to pay informants, purchase drugs, and anything else they may need to make a solid case.
“You may have to rent a car. You may have to rent a hotel. There’s different things that money is used for, but all of the money used is to investigate narcotics violations,” Davenport said.
Prescription drugs being sold is a major problem in the county, and Davenport said the only way to bust someone doing it is to actually buy it from them.
Beaufort County Sheriff Ernie Coleman said taxpayers should know they keep track of the money they spend very closely.
“It’s well maintained, we keep up with every dime of it of what goes out, and try to get what we can back on judgements,” Coleman said.
In some cases, the drug money spent is returned as part of the punishment handed out by the court if the person is found guilt. Coleman said the majority of the money they use will never be seen again, but it does yield anywhere between 350 and 450 drug related arrests every year.
Davenport said another sign the drug buy money is making a positive difference is the dramatic decline in meth labs in the county. In 2014, they averaged more than one meth lab every month. So far in 2015, they have only had two.
“Everybody that we have arrested for manufacturing Methamphetamine has pulled active prison time here in Beaufort County,” Davenport said.
He said people can help them fight the drug problem by keeping their eyes open, since a lot of times public parking lots are popular places for people to meet to do drug deals.
Most counties in the East have similar programs to help curb the drug problem. In Pitt County, the sheriff’s department uses about $80,000 in buy money each year, and in Lenoir County, they use about $30,000 each year.