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Sheriff seizes cash in McKenzie

Sheriff Diane Harris announced Wednesday that her department had successfully seized nearly $4,000 in cash that was taken during an investigation in South Butler County.

"On Sept. 12, 1998 the Butler County Sheriff's Office, with the assistance of the Georgiana Police Department executed a search warrant and investigated the residence of Jerry Booker, at Rt. 1, Box 69 McKenzie-this was as a result of undercover drug investigations," Sheriff Harris said.

"During the execution of this search warrant, we discovered a set of scales containing drug residue, and also some small plastic bags such as would be used to package drugs," she said. "Booker, then 44 years old, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and transported to the Butler County Jail."

Also taken by authorities during the raid was $3, 485.40 in cash, Harris noted. "Pursuant to drug enforcement laws, anything that can be connected to drug activity is seized along with evidence," said Kenny Harden, chief deputy. "Cash, property, weapons, vehicles, and any other merchandise can be seized through the court."

"Following Booker's arrest, we filed for forfeiture of the money impounded," said Harris.

Although the charge was a misdemeanor offense, Harris said federal law provides for the forfeiture.

"In a court order dated Dec. 13, 2000 and signed by District Judge Barry Branum, Booker was ordered to forfeit the money, pay $181 in court costs, a $50 fine, and $130 in fees," said Harris. "Out of the money forfeited, ten percent is awarded to the District Attorney's office for solicitation fees, and the remainder is awarded to the Sheriff's Office to be used to further illegal drug enforcement," she said. "Funds gained through this means can be used to purchase equipment and/or training to further assist in drug operations-things that we could not get otherwise."