Commission backs Drug Task Force in seeking grant

Citing the success of the Drug Task Force, District Attorney Greg Griggers asked for and received a resolution from the Marengo County Commission to approve his application for the federal Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.

Only 12 such task forces in the state will receive funding this year, but the amount is being reduced because the focus is shifting to other areas, said Griggers. The local group should be a strong contender for the funds since it has proven itself to be effective.

“Last year we had some of the best statistics in the state,” he said. “We probably will receive substantially less even if we are one of the 12 selected.”

Over the last two years, the DA continued, the task force has seized 138.7 pounds of powdered cocaine, 1.3. pounds of crack, 188.4 pounds of marijuana, five pounds of heroin, 103.4 pounds of meth, 274 marijuana plants, 5,850 pills stored in a cooler going to Atlanta for sale, eight cars, two tractor-trailers, one freightliner truck, “a bunch of guns,” and $2,220,167 in drug cartel money of which $221,168.58 was returned to sheriff and police departments that helped with those cases.

In addition, he continued, the task force has recovered 279 fake iPhones, six fake iPads, three stolen vehicles and a 16-year-old runaway from Mississippi.

Officer Robby Autery was named the 2014 Interdiction Officer of the Year for the entire country, Griggers proudly added.

The Drug Task Force also cooperates with local law enforcement in apprehending criminals, he continued, citing the group’s aid in investigating the recent double homicide in Cuba.

“Drugs are certainly their focus, but they’ll jump in there and do other things as well,” Griggers concluded.

Commissioners approved county engineer Ken Atkins’ request to offer in-kind services to the Town of Thomaston as part of a CDBG application.

Atkins also requested and was granted a resolution to use federal funding to repave and repair Gandy Ferry Road.

Sheriff Richard Bates asked the commission for funding to remove an obsolete control panel in the jail and replace it in a new location. Commissioners had questions about the need to replace the box and directed Bates to reconnect wires that had been cut in previous work to see if the problem can be fixed.

In other business, the commission:

  • Approved a liquor license application for A.W. Compton & Son.
  • Approved each commissioner to hiring two high school students as summer workers.
  • Set the 2015 “Back-To-School” sales tax holiday for Aug. 7-9.
  • Set a public hearing July 14 at 9 a.m. to review the Solid Waste Dispoal Plan and the vacation of Dirt Pit Road.
  • Tabled action on nominating members to the Board of Equalization.
  • Voted to approve Ken Atkins’ hiring of two additional employees.