Robeson County Sheriff’s Office readmitted into federal drug forfeiture program

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Courtesy: Robeson County Sheriff’s Office

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – Thursday the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office completed training that allowed them to rejoin the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of the Treasury’s Equitable Sharing Programs.

“It may not be a big deal to some but I can assure you what occurred today will have a huge positive affect not only on the sheriff’s office but for all of Robeson County,” said Sheriff Burnis Wilkins.

According to a press release, the Sheriff’s Office was deemed ineligible to participate in the programs after several members of the Sheriff’s Office were arrested and prosecuted under Operation Tarnished Badge. However, under the new leadership of Sheriff Wilkins, the department made the request for readmission.

The Sheriff along with District Attorney Matt Scott have spent “countless hours meeting with federal officials over the last year,” according to Wilkins.

The Sheriff’s Office was granted probationary re-admission into the program following mandatory training for not only Sheriff’s Office personnel but also the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, and Robeson County Finance Office on asset forfeiture and equitable sharing.

The Departments of Justice and Treasury said in a press release, they believe that renewed collaboration and cooperation between the RCSO and federal law enforcement will strengthen law enforcement efforts to deter and punish criminal activity in Robeson County and the surrounding communities.

“We have been able to garner the trust of not only the US Attorney’s Office but all federal agencies,” said Wilkins

The Asset Forfeiture and Equitable Sharing Programs are law enforcement tools that share money and resources across agencies.

According to a federal guide about the programs they “remove the tools of crime from criminal organizations, deprive wrongdoers of the proceeds of their crimes, recover property that may be used to compensate victims, and deter crime.”

Compensating victims is a top priority of the program according to the guide.

From the Justice Department the ATF, DEA, and FBI all participate in the programs.

From the Treasury department the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, IRS, Secret Service, and CBP all participate.

Beyond the Justice and Treasury Departments, many other federal agencies also participate in the program including:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG)
  • U.S. Department of Defense – Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS)
  • U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DSS)
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI)
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)

“I do not take this achievement lightly and will continue our quest to rid our communities of Crime & Grime. This program gives us more resources to do just that,” said Wilkins.

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