Every now and then, the Sheriff's Department is rewarded with more than just the knowledge of a job well done after arresting drug dealers.
Investigations in 1989 also produced the seizures of cars, cellular phones, one airplane and almost $700,000 in cash, which the department keeps to use in future narcotic operations.
"I'm very proud of our officers' work," Sheriff Brad Gates said Tuesday after he released a year-end report. "I want to emphasize the kinds of things that we take away from these drug dealers . . . these are things we'll use in other investigations, things that the taxpayers don't pay for."
According to the report, the department seized 13 vehicles from drug dealers, including two Porsches, two Cadillacs, a Corvette, a Firebird and a Camaro Iroc Z. A single-engine Cessna aircraft also was confiscated.
Other things that sheriff's deputies have been seizing increasingly--which they aren't as pleased with--are guns.
"We're starting to see a lot more handguns that are loaded and ready to go," Gates said. The weapons are frequently put in places "with little regard for young children," he said.
Forty guns, including six high-powered rifles, were seized by the 16-member narcotics unit, the report said.
With more drug dealers armed than ever before in the county, the deputies' jobs have become "extremely dangerous," he added. "The dealers are highly sophisticated."
Nonetheless, the deputies accounted for 425 felony arrests in the past year.
The narcotics unit also seized sizable quantities of illicit drugs. According to the report, enough cocaine to produce more than 800,000 individual doses was confiscated. "That's enough for a third of the county to have a dose," Gates said.