Big drug busts yields big benefits

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - A huge drug bust in Louisa County is a major victory for public safety, but also a significant windfall for the sheriff's office there. The sale of the property seized, will fund some needed equipment for the department.

Narcotics officers found 352 marijuana plants on 32 acres on Mt. Airy Road in Louisa. Now that the land and house have been seized and sold, the department is finally able to buy semi-automatic rifles for its SWAT team.

In summer of 2006, narcotics officers on a drug eradication mission saw five plots full of marijuana plants. The suspect pled guilty and U.S. marshals seized and sold the property. The Louisa County Sheriff's Office cut of the proceeds was about $11,000. It used that and money from other drug forfeitures to buy twelve M-4 semi automatic rifles at $1100 apiece.

That money got the sheriff's office the whole set including the rifle, carrying case, sling and a light kit.

"It's fantastic. I mean we can buy extra equipment that we never had before or couldn't afford to have.  This equipment that we have will protect the citizens of Louisa County," said Lt. Howard Porter.

SWAT team members double as patrol officers so citizens could see these weapons used anytime deputies set up a perimeter, have an incident at a school or serve warrants. They can respond immediately, instead of waiting for larger jurisdictions. As they train though, they're trying to send a message.

"Hopefully, we're sending the message to them, not to deal drugs in Louisa County. This is a penalty to them, seizing their property, and that all goes back to fighting crime and fighting the drug problem in Louisa," said Porter.

You may have noticed scopes on top of those rifles. The sighting systems were actually donated from military surplus, so the sheriff's office did not have to spend budget dollars on those either.

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