Theft, drug use in 24th Judicial Task Force, report says

NASHVILLE - A state comptroller's special investigation of West Tennessee's 24th Judicial Drug Task Force turned up instances of theft by the agency's administrative assistant and jail trustees smoking seized crack cocaine.

It also reveals that District Attorney General Hansel McCadams and Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew had a penchant for using a confiscated BMW Z-3 car for their personal use.

The examination of drug task force operations was conducted by the Comptroller's Division of County Audit with aid from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Auditors said items from drug seizures were stolen or misused with a task force administrative assistant and her ex-husband admitting to taking drugs and other seized items, including utility trailers and a flat-screen television, from the task force.

The report from the Comptroller's Division of County Audit said McCadams and other directors of the task force were lax in reviewing the agency's operations. The task force itself didn't have adequate record-keeping or inventory management practices.

Auditors said they found a group of jail trustees on a work detail had access to seized items without sufficient supervision. Because of that, the report says, some trustees gained access to drug case files, smoked crack cocaine and marijuana while at the Drug Task Force headquarters and stole cash, old coins and other equipment.

According to auditors, McCadams sometimes used a variety of confiscated equipment including a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a golf cart, a go cart, a four-wheeler and a trailer for his personal use. He flew on Drug Task Force airplanes and a helicopter on non-official business, according to the report.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

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