Nacogdoches Co. keeps up fight in drug war - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches Co. keeps up fight in drug war

By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Deep East Texas Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force closed more than three years ago by orders of the state. To this day, some of the cases have yet to be settled.

The majority of the forfeited items were auctioned off years ago when the force dissolved. Yet much of the forfeited and seized funds remain on the books. So do nine vehicles associated with pending cases. Tuesday, Nacogdoches County commissioners remained accountable for it all.

"With our auditor looking at it," County Judge Joe English said. "With the comptroller's office looking at it. Then there are a lot of eyes that look at those reports and those numbers to make sure that we still maintain accountability."

The pending cases reflect the hard work put in by former task force officers, including Constable Jason Bridges.

"It doesn't surprise me that some of those cases might still be pending," Bridges said. "Still haven't been through the court yet because we did a lot of hard work out there."

Now the former task force officer is continuing drug investigations on a smaller scale. Just like in the task force, the constable has confidential informants and a fund to pay them. Starting balance, just $500.

"And we made that go a long ways," Bridges said. "We ceased a lot of drugs with it. We did a lot of search warrants. And in the conclusion of that we seized a lot of money out of that."

And over time it all adds up. Precinct Four seized over $53,000 since October of last year. Tuesday, Bridges told commissioners he'll be purchasing a new Tahoe for his department with drug seizure funds.

The Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Department reports over $74,000 in expenditures from forfeited funds. The money is not used for salaries, but can be used for equipment, training and recruiting.

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