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Clothes off one drug dealers back could help catch others

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April 11, 2008

Lee County-  The Lee County Sheriff's office will use the clothes off one drug suspect's back to help catch other criminals.

The Sheriff's office seized $29,000 in clothes from drug suspect Bobby Lee Williams' home. They say the clothes are part of a nearly $200,000 marijuana operation that included several cars, jewelry, and cash.

Investigators will resell the seized items to help pay for equipment to fight crime. The Lee County Sheriff's Office evidence locker looks more like a store at the mall. It's piled high with 90 pairs of jeans, 94 shirts, 66 pair of shoes, 101 hats. What's this got to do with a 57 pound marijuana bust from five months ago.

"We can prove that these were paid for with drug money," said Col. Duane Sapp, Lee County Sheriff's Office. So, with a federal warrant their seized Bobby Lee Williams' merchandise.

"These have never been worn before, they're brand new, still have the tags on them," said Sapp.

Williams was busted in December, that's when the Narcotics unit found 57 pounds of marijuana in his Crab Apple Court home. While on parole Williams was busted again in February when agents found more marijuana and more than $90,000 in Jewelry, but at that point they didn't yet know whether they could seize the clothing. "We looked into the finances that took a little bit to do that investigation, in the mean time they had moved the clothes to a storage location in Dougherty County," said Sapp.

$85.00 shirts, $100.00 shoes, $200.00 jackets it all adds up for the Sheriff's office.

"The federal government will come and take custody of all of this and then they will put it on their web site for auction," said Sapp.

It's the Lee County taxpayers who benefit. Sheriff Harold Breeden's budget for drug equipment is low, that's because money seized from this type of bust goes to pay for new equipment and could help catch future criminals.

"If you do drugs in Lee County we're coming to get you, you can just write that down on the calendar. We're going to get you," said Sapp. The Lee County Sheriff's Office will get 80 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the clothing.

Williams faces federal possession charges and remains jailed in Dougherty County without bond.

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