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FBI investigating narcotics task force, TPD tight-lipped on probe, raids

Stephen N. Dethrage

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The West Alabama Narcotics Task Force, the unit that headed Tuesday’s record-breaking drug raids on and off of the University of Alabama campus, is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation into their accounting practices, the FBI confirmed Wednesday.
The FBI probe, which began in December, is the result of discrepancies found in a November audit of the task force’s accounting.
The audit took place after the previous commander of the task force, Captain Jeff Snyder of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, transferred to another division of TPD and a new commander was assigned to lead the unit.
In addition to controlled substances, the task force confiscates money in raids and investigations they handle, and TPD Chief Steve Anderson said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the morning raids were no exception.
“Agents also seized three guns and thousands of dollars,” Anderson said.
Sgt. Brent Blankley, the public information officer for the Tuscaloosa Police Department, declined to release any more information regarding Tuesday’s raids, the amount money that was seized in the raids, the guidelines for seizing that money or information on its oversight.
“We held a press conference yesterday,” Blankley said. “We’ve done everything we’re going to do media-wise.”
When asked about the FBI’s on-going investigation into the task force’s accounting practices and how that would affect the money that was confiscated Tuesday, Blankley again declined to comment.
“[The investigation] has nothing to do with what happened yesterday,” he said.
Because the investigation into the task force is ongoing, the FBI declined to comment on the status of the investigation, any of its results or any punitive or corrective action taken to ensure that the task force’s future accounting was error-free.
“It is Department of Justice policy not to comment on ongoing investigations,” said Paul Daymond, the public information officer for the FBI’s Birmingham field office. “Such is the case here and I would not be able to offer any comment concerning this matter.”

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FBI investigating narcotics task force, TPD tight-lipped on probe, raids