The bill for a special prosecutor in Kanawha County keeps growing so Kanawha County’s Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants is offering to help pay some of the fees.
On Tuesday Plants agreed to pay nearly $112,000 for special prosecutor Don Morris. He offered $25,000 in general office savings, about $12,000 in a pending pay raise and $75,000 of seized drug money from the county’s drug forfeiture fund.
“I think it’s a great idea to use money from my office’s drug forfeiture account to offset some of these costs,” he said in a press release. “This is not tax-dollar money; this is money seized from dangerous drug dealers.”
However, Charleston Police Sergeant Bobby Eggleton said he’s furious the prosecutor’s office is using the funds for this. Eggleton commands the department’s Special Enforcement Team, which conducts drug raids and seizures.
“Very seldom do we deal with a heavy drug dealer that’s not armed,” said Eggleton. “When we do go into those unknown situations, we’d like to know that the prosecutor of this county has our back.”
Last year, the Special Enforcement Team seized about $80,000 from drug dealers. That’s about the same amount Plants and his office is offering to pay.
For each seizure, the city and county pay 10 percent of whatever is taken to the prosecutor’s office for this fund.
“Maybe it’s time for somebody else to come in and say okay my job is not to run defense on my personal problems. Maybe it’s time for me just to be a law enforcement supporter, a law enforcement prosecutor,” said Eggleton.
The account is at the discretion of prosecutor. In June 2012, Plants paid for a conference trip to Orlando, Florida with this money.
“I think he should confer with the people out here working and doing this kind of stuff, putting our lives on the line. I mean my young guys do it everyday, every night,” said Eggleton.