From Our News Partner, KMHT 103.9 FM
In December of 2014, Harrison County deputies investigating a fiery, fatal accident on Interstate 20 near Waskom made an unusual find in the back of a big rig involved…bundles upon bundles of drug money. Sometime later Sheriff Tom McCool transported the seized money to the United States Treasury where employees would count the money and determine how much was available for the sheriff’s and district attorney’s office to keep. The total is in and, nearly three quarters of a million dollars was deposited yesterday into the sheriff’s and DA’s department coffers.
“We have been the very lucky recipients of this amount of money, it’s about $790,000, and that will be split between the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office. As we split that money, it’s just going to be used in the sheriff’s office to acquire things that are so very necessary, we aren’t discussing anything specifically at this time, that will be up to Sheriff McCool, and he will discuss that with the chief deputy and make those decisions. We are certainly not going to be spending any great amount of money immediately, we will look at all the different avenues for its use,” said Lt. Jay Webb.
The car accident happened just before 3 a.m. early on Dec. 2, 2014. McCool said the truck the money was in overheated, or suffered some other malfunction, and caught fire. The driver of the vehicle, 36-year-old Eric Royster of North Carolina, was struck and killed while standing in the middle of Highway 80 following the accident.
A passenger in that vehicle was not injured and told authorities he had no idea where the money had come from or belonged to. The money will be very beneficial to the sheriff’s office and the DA’s office, but the seized money is very tightly regulated.
“Under state law, this money cannot be put into the budget, so this money cannot be considered a budget windfall, it will strictly be under the sheriff’s control,” Webb said.
Sheriff Tom McCool has said the money was purely drug money. No arrests have been made regarding the money, but McCool says there are some ‘very angry drug dealers across the United States who are missing a bunch of money.’