Lancaster County uses money seized in drug busts for equipment and more
Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News
In the last week you've heard about a few big drug busts, with the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office taking more than 200 pounds of marijuana, cash and more.
But once arrests are made, what happens to the contraband?
"If we can tie assets, not just cash as the instrumentality of crime, either bought with proceeds of crime or as part of criminal activity, that can be seized,” Sheriff Terry Wagner said.
The drugs are destroyed, and the money, after officials investigate whether or not it can be tied to illegal activity goes to a Lancaster County drug fund, which right now contains about 1.8 million dollars.
"It's not a very quick process,” Wagner said. “It's not money you can count on and there are very strict guidelines on what you can spend it on."
It's been used to buy Narcan- a drug that reverses opioid overdose, expensive crime mapping equipment, another deputy on the drug interdiction task force and special training.
It's a complicated process to get the money back, and they only get a portion of it determined by the state or federal government.
Wagner says they seized about 2.6 million dollars in 2017, and may get about 60 percent back from the federal government.
The top drug they seize is marijuana, taking more than a half ton in 2017.
"As more states legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana those states are growing more than they can consume,” Wagner said. “So it's getting exported to states where it's not legal, and it's being hauled across the highways of our state."
While Wagner said he thinks the amount of marijuana busts will increase in Lancaster County, there's no way to tell how much that will increase the drug fund.