Cash seized at county checking station

Sherry Matthews Editor

October 3, 2013

A checking station along U.S. 701 earlier this week netted more than just traffic violators. In fact, Sampson Criminal Interdiction Team members came away with quite a bounty — $17,000 in unclaimed cash.

The cash was seized at a CID checking station Tuesday afternoon when a Ford pickup truck pulled up and the driver gave officers consent to search the vehicle.

According to a release about the seizure, Capt. Eric Pope noted that during the search CID officers discovered the cash, and the vehicle’s occupants did not claim the money.

The cash was immediately seized under federal asset forfeiture laws and the occupants of the truck were released.

The driver, whose name was not listed on reports, was charged by citation with no operator’s license.

Sheriff Jimmy Thornton once again reiterated the significance of both traffic stops and checking points in his department’s battle to fight crime across the county.

“This, once again, emphasizes the significance of the stops and what we often uncover because of them,” the sheriff stressed.

“It’s also indicative of what’s out there on our highways. The one this week was on 701 south and involved cash; the last one, where we seized 14 pounds of marijuana, was on Highway 13. As I’ve said in the past, we’ve got many highways and thoroughfares that pass through this county. We are traffic to everything, and it’s not just I-40.

“And, of course, we are right in the middle of all these military bases. Fact is, all kinds of things are coming through here, all counties, really. It’s unfortunate but a fact, and we have to remain vigilant.”

Thornton said the most recent cash seizure just stresses what is either passing through Sampson or, sometimes, stopping here.

“That’s why it is imperative that we keep up our enforcement. We might be able to stop some of this stuff from getting into the hands of children. This week it was cash; the next time it might be drugs.”

With the occupants not claiming the discovered cash, Thornton said Sampson would likely see 80 percent of the bounty returned to the county through the forfeiture laws.