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Drug Task Force Director Indicted

When the I-Team out of Cincinnati started investigation what happened to money seized by a Kentucky drug task force, no one thought it would end up with criminal charges being filed, but the story from January of this year had some pretty strong allegations. For example, records for the Buffalo Trace- Gateway Narcotics Task Force in Kentucky weren’t being kept properly. Almost $100,000 worth of money and properly wasn’t accounted for. And the head of the task force, Timothy Fegan had been fired when an accounting showed irregularities.

Now, almost a year later, an indictment has been handed down that accuses the former director of misappropriating funds. The task force, based in Maysville, often handles large amounts of cash. The money is confiscated from drug seizures and also used to make undercover buys. Fegan was in charge for two-and-a-half years. The former officer faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of as much as a quarter-million dollars. At this time, he remains free because prosecutors do not see him as a flight risk.

So it’s a story of drug money doing what drug money does – possibly corrupting a good police officer.

Linked to this story is the matter of seizures-for-profit, the practice of focusing drug enforcement efforts on high-dollar seizures where police can rack up hundreds of thousands through asset forfeiture. Some say this mechanism has led to a kind of “policing for profit” and leads to overzealous prosecution of drug suspects and, as is alleged here, outright corruption.

In one incident cited by the I-Team, officers changed focus from an ongoing drug deal to another person, simply because the other person was driving a new, expensive truck. That truck remained in police custody several years after the event, even though the accused was acquitted. The forfeiture case against the truck (yes, that’s right, forfeiture cases are against the property, not the criminal), kept it in police hands.

The case won’t go to trial until next year, and it remains to be seen whether the missing money will be accounted for.


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