Local News

FBI Continues Investigation Of Marijuana Missing From Chatham Sheriff's Office

Posted February 26, 2002

— Nine months after the FBI announced that it was investigating two tons of missing marijuana at the Chatham County Sheriff's Office, there are indications of movement in the case and that it could be an inside job.

"Wednesday morning they called and said they would like to stop by. They needed my help," said Rick Givens, a Chatham County commissioner.

Givens says he escorted the FBI as it seized a year's worth of dispatch communications recorded around the time it was discovered that 5,000 pounds of marijuana confiscated by the sheriff's office was missing.

Givens later learned the tapes were subpoenaed so a federal grand jury can hear them later this month, an indication that insiders may get indicted.

"I was glad to see that they had been working, because I've heard so many rumors where they're not doing anything, nothing's going to happen, they just forgot about us in Chatham County," Givens said.

Narcotics Officer James Bowden worked with the DEA at the time of the bust and assisted in the case.

Bowden recently signed a sworn affidavit stating that the Chatham County Sheriff's Office discovered most of the marijuana missing nine months after they had seized it, when they were bringing it to the county landfill to burn it.

Bowden's sources added that the officers did not even dispose of the remaining marijuana properly.

"They were going to put diesel fuel on it and burn it. There was an officer at the scene that just told the other officers just to put it in the ground," Bowden said.

Soon, that marijuana was stolen, too. Bowden said that department higher-ups told several officers to keep their mouths shut.

"The information that I received was that the officers were told that there was an FBI investigation being conducted and that their jobs with the Chatham County Sheriff's Office was in jeopardy if they said anything to anybody else about the missing marijuana," Bowden said.

When asked if they were being threatened, Bowden said "Yes, they were. That's my opinion." When asked if it sounds like a coverup, Bowden responded "To me, it does."

It is worth noting that Givens and Bowden are running for Chatham County sheriff. The current sheriff, deputy sheriff, the former sheriff, and the FBI would not comment.


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