Pubdate: Mon, 26 Jan 2004
Source: Tullahoma News (TN)
Copyright: The Tullahoma News 2004
Author: Wayne Thomas


Franklin County Has Spent $700,000 Since 1998 To Clean Up Methamphetamines.

That was the shocking revelation Franklin County Chief Deputy Sheriff Tim 
Fuller gave the Franklin County Commission's Law Enforcement Committee last 
Thursday night. Fuller noted that the federal Drug Enforcement Agency has 
reimbursed the county, "but the county has paid the money out to start with 
and no matter what, the taxpayers are picking up the tab." "Our officers 
are covered up with paperwork, the district attorney's staff is drowning 
from all the work and the judges are beat down with all of the plea 
bargaining," Fuller said. The chief deputy explained to the committee that 
since Franklin County has such a high number of cases involving 
methamphetamines, the sentences issued by the court are not what would be 
expected. Fuller explained that people arrested for a first offense of 
producing methamphetamines normally receive a sentence of probation. "For a 
conviction of second offense, the courts usually give a sentence of 
community corrections, while a third offense a lot of times results in a 
person being sent to jail for the weekend plus some community corrections," 
Fuller explained. He added by the time a person is arrested a fourth time, 
the officers try to get the cases into the federal court system. "Once they 
get in the federal court system they receive longer sentences," Fuller 
said. "Is there no rehabilitation program for these people using 
methamphetamine?" Commissioner Jean Snead asked Fuller. "The only rehab 
program I know of is out at Franklin Memorial Gardens or in the back 
(meaning in jail)." Fuller stated. Fuller explained that as area law 
enforcement have been focusing so much on the meth problem they have seen 
the usage of crack cocaine declining, but the "usage of marijuana has 
started to rise again." Commissioner Henry Arnold asked if lawmen are 
seeing any organized group selling the illegal drugs. Fuller explained that 
there are "several Hispanic groups who are controlling methamphetamine 
traffic." He stated that there does not seem to be any such groups here, 
yet. He added that there have been reports of some gang members from 
Nashville, Chattanooga and Huntsville who are regular visitors to the area, 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart