Columbus Police Dept. receives $105kPublished 3:51pm Friday, August 17, 2012
Drug seizure money allows department to purchase new vehicle
The Columbus Police Department received approximately $105,000 in reimbursement almost exactly one year after the department discovered $159,785 in drug money hidden in a vehicle.
Columbus Town Council met Thursday, Aug. 16 and approved the purchase of a 2012 Dodge Charger to be paid for with the money. Council agreed to spend approximately $26,000 including for the vehicle and equipment. The new Charger will be unmarked.
“This is the good news portion of the evening,” said town manager Jonathan Kanipe in announcing the reimbursement. “The seizure money is in our bank account.”
The seizure occurred during an Aug. 5, 2011 N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety checkpoint conducted near the Polk County Isothermal Community College along Hwy. 108. It was the largest money seizure in Polk County’s history, with Columbus police officers being credited with finding the money hidden in manufactured compartments in the car during a routine checkpoint.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took over the case with federal agents determining that the money tested positive for cocaine.
Columbus Police Chief Chris Beddingfield said at the time that the seizure is a perfect example of why the Columbus Police Department is so active with the governor’s highway safety program. He said at some point, all criminals go mobile and the chances of catching criminals are much greater from a vehicle stop than from actually catching them in the act.