No reported progress in investigation of missing drug money

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2002

City officials refuse to comment on any investigation into a portion of $25,490 in drug money that was discovered missing May 13.

Neither Demopolis Mayor Austin Caldwell nor Public Safety Director Jeff Manuel would comment June 10 on the investigation or whether FBI agents have been involved.

Caldwell had previously said he hoped the matter could have been resolved by the June 6 meeting of the Demopolis City Council.

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The matter was not discussed at the meeting, although the council did hold an executive session that evening.

The suspected drug money was seized during a traffic stop May 11 on a 2002 Chevy SUV bearing Texas plates.

The cash was found hidden in a compartment in the rear of the SUV.

The driver and passengers of the SUV denied any knowledge about how the money got in the vehicle, and no narcotics were located.

The money was to be held by investigators, and a seizure was to be filed against the money as drug proceeds.

The seized drug money was turned May 13 into Demopolis City Clerk Vickie Taylor and was counted in the presence of Taylor, two other clerks and Police Chief Charles Avery, Caldwell said.

A receipt was given to Avery, the mayor said.

Approximately $23,000 was deposited in a general fund account at Commercial Bank.