Officers cooperate, seize cash, drugs on interstate

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ST. MARYS, Ga. --- Blue Lightning struck more than a few motorists on Interstate 95 in Camden County this week.

But it wasn't an atmospheric anomaly. It was county, city and state law enforcement officers intercepting illegal drug traffic traveling the interstate.

At least $304,000 in cash, 80 pounds of marijuana, 15 grams of cocaine and an assortment of pills including Xanax and Ecstasy had been seized by nightfall Thursday in Operation Blue Lightning, said Lt. William Terrell, a spokesman for the Camden County Sheriff's Office.

Also seized was a 2000 tractor-trailer, where deputies reported finding 60 pounds of marijuana hidden behind boxes inside the trailer.

Several people were arrested on a variety of charges. Authorities planned to release their names, and a final list of the drugs, money and other items seized during a news conference.

Begun Monday morning, the joint operation was scheduled to conclude Thursday night. It was conducted by sheriff's deputies from Camden, Lowndes and Dooly counties, Kingsland police officers and Georgia State Patrol troopers.

Thursday's announcement solved a puzzle for residents who wondered why out-of-county sheriff's deputies were stopping cars along I-95.

A suitcase containing $250,095 in tightly packed cash was recovered Wednesday night from a 2007 Lincoln Town Car occupied by two women driving south on I-95 to Hollywood, Fla., Lt. Terrell said.

"They said they didn't know how it got there," Lt. Terrell said.

The women were released after being questioned by investigators.

Before the women left, both signed statements saying the money didn't belong to them. Investigators confiscated the cash, he said.

Deputies from the three counties participated in a similar drug interdiction a few weeks ago in South Carolina. The Camden operation evolved from that experience, Lt. Terrell said.

It illustrates the effectiveness of cooperation between law enforcement agencies, Camden Sheriff Bill Smith said.

"Time and again we have seen that these long-term working relationships between various agencies are the most effective way to fulfill our mandate to protect and serve all the citizens in our community," Sheriff Smith said in a statement.

The Sheriff's Office expects to conduct similar operations in the future, Lt. Terrell said.

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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 12/01/07 - 06:02 am
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This is a good example of why

This is a good example of why the cash confiscation part of the "war against drugs" laws are written the way they are. However, that doesn't stop police from confiscating cash from individuals that isn't drug related. The usual two edged sword.

pointman73
0
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pointman73 12/01/07 - 06:51 am
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Cash, bank accounts, and

Cash, bank accounts, and property can only be seized if gained from or is being used for criminal enterprise or for purchasing contraband or illegal services. Also, Law Enforcement may seize any amount of money $10,000 or more and inquire where the money came from. If the "owner" cannot legitimize the possession, it becomes government funds.

GETACLUE
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GETACLUE 12/01/07 - 08:53 am
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patriciathomas- you need to

patriciathomas- you need to do your research before you speak out. Pointman73 is correct,the money has to be illegitimate. If you read the article the woman were carrying $250,000 in tightly wrapped bills but did not know it was there. They also signed abandonment forms saying it was not theirs. Quit preaching your ACLU rhetoric.

jff
0
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jff 12/01/07 - 09:12 am
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so your telling me if i had

so your telling me if i had $50.00 hid in the trunk a cop can take it.

dani
13
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dani 12/01/07 - 09:47 am
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Did I read that right. She

Did I read that right. She didn't know she was carrying 250,000 dollars in cash. I hope the cops didn't fall for that old story.

grizzilies
0
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grizzilies 12/01/07 - 10:17 am
0
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They can seize it, but it has

They can seize it, but it has to be proven in court that it was drug money. If it is legal money, go to court and prove it. You do not have nothing to worry. To carry $250,000 in cash makes you wonder. Have proper documentation from a bank and other that would confirm it is legal and not drug money. If you have to worry about the cops taking your money "What do you have to hide?"

patriciathomas
43
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patriciathomas 12/01/07 - 10:23 am
0
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pointman73 and getaclue.

pointman73 and getaclue. WRONG. If you're carrying cash while traveling along the interstate and you're stopped by the police for any reason and the cash is discovered, it is susceptible to confiscation. If the money was the result of a used car sale, with no acceptable proof of transaction, the police can just claim the money is being investigated and take the cash. No receipt is required, even though one is usually issued. The receipt carries no power though. It can't be used to regain the cash if the police object. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. The laws included in the war on drugs aren't very constitutional, but they exist and have been supported by the courts. Claiming otherwise won't change the facts. We often complain about the left wings unreasonable actions, well this war on drugs is one of the worst actions taken by the right. Many of the 'laws' included in this initiative are unconstitutional.

GETACLUE
0
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GETACLUE 12/01/07 - 11:01 am
0
0
Where do you get your

Where do you get your information? From Rosie?

GETACLUE
0
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GETACLUE 12/01/07 - 11:06 am
0
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The police have to prove it

The police have to prove it was proceeds from illegal activity to keep it. Only at the border does the burden of proof lie with the person. It is clearly stated at every U.S. border to declare more than $10,000, if you do not and it is seized then "you" not the government must prove it is legitimate and you will get it back. Show me one case of legitimate money being seized by local law enforcement where the person went through the motions, proved it was legitimate, and did not get there money back.

jack
11
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jack 12/01/07 - 04:21 pm
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jff, I take it you have a

jff, I take it you have a reading comprehension problem. it has been clearly stated that any amount over $10,000 can be confiscated if used in illegal activities or the person with the money, like the two women, claim they don't own it and thus can also be confiscated and an attempt is made to identify who it belongs to. Simple enough?

jack
11
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jack 12/01/07 - 04:23 pm
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PT, first give us alink to

PT, first give us alink to the law, Second, tell us what is "unconstitutional" about this procedure if the courts have upheld it.

jack
11
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jack 12/01/07 - 04:24 pm
0
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English lesson for the

English lesson for the day:

There-speaking of a place.
their-referring to persons.

GETACLUE
0
Points
GETACLUE 12/01/07 - 10:37 pm
0
0
Oops.

Oops.

birdhead
1
Points
birdhead 12/02/07 - 12:35 pm
0
0
Stupid

Stupid

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