State-wide audit of Tennessee Drug Task Forces

State-wide audit of Tennessee Drug Task Forces

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - A local drug task force finds thousands of dollars in a Kingsport evidence room.

Each year drug task force groups across Tennessee are audited by the comptroller's office to keep the agencies in check, "Whether or not the drug task forces are properly counting for their money their forfeitures, their seizures, and that their operations financially are correct," says Sullivan County District Attorney Barry Staubus. 

For district two which is Sullivan County, the audit revealed drug task force records for seized cash were not maintained properly.

Sullivan County District Attorney Barry Staubus says more than $11,000 of seized cash was discovered by the drug task force while cleaning-up old evidence at the Kingsport Police Department, "It was never misspent, misallocated we found in and we were in the process of and are still in the process of trying to locate the owners of that money."

Staubus says the money found was from the 90s and it will either go back to the state or to the drug task force.

Meanwhile, in order to make sure cash doesn't slip through the cracks again, the issue will be addressed during the yearly financial training, "To make sure their bookkeeping procedures are correct, that our grant money is spent correctly, and everything is accounted for," adds Staubus.

In district three which includes Greene, Hawkins, Hamblen, and Hancock counties the findings weren't about missing money.

The audit uncovered 223 cases where a portion or all of the drug evidence seized by the drug task force was missing.

District Attorney Berkeley Bell says a lot of the evidence missing is from old cases which were closed or litigated.

So where's the evidence?

He says the T.B.I. is still investigating.

In district 1 which is Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, and Washington counties District Attorney Tony Clark says there were a couple of findings, "A majority of those are some booking but there was some money that was shown to be missing that was money that had not be receipted out of petty cash."

Clark says an employee in charge of the books has been fired over the issue and a new person is in place, "The most crucial was the money that was missing but there was receipts found for some of that money and the rest of it was paid by insurance we couldn't prove that it was taken by this individual but the receipts weren't there for the money."

The district attorneys we spoke with say they are working to correct all issues.

All the counties we spoke with say they are working to help the communities they serve and they want the public to be able to trust them that's why they are happy to have the audits every year.

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