Local News

In Lee County, Tax Man Close on Heels of Drug Busts

Posted January 29, 2007

Lee County is cracking down on hundreds of people who haven't paid their taxes—for allegedly dealing drugs.

At the Sanford Motel, room service included crack cocaine, according to Lee County sheriff’s deputies.

“Mostly they called the front desk, implied what they wanted, and it was delivered to them,” Capt. John Holly said.

On Friday, after a six-week undercover operation, deputies arrested the motel’s owner and two employees for selling and delivering cocaine. Kenneth Lee Haggerty, 39, the owner; Cathy Bryant Tyner, 44, the live-in motel operator; and Dennis Martin Farmer,24, Haggerty's son who also lived at the motel, were all arrested.

Haggerty and Tyner were charged with multiple counts of sale and delivery of cocaine, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, and conspiracy to sell and deliver cocaine.

Farmer was charged with possession with intent to sell and distribute cocaine.

“Individuals that are caught with illegal drugs, whether they’re convicted or not, are required to pay taxes,” Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter said Monday.

Carter has 340 state-issued tax warrants for drug suspects, amounting to more than $10 million.

“We need to hit drug dealers in the pocketbook, and we’re going to do that,” Carter said.

It’s called the Unauthorized Substance Tax. A quarter of it goes to the state. The rest goes to the local agency that handled the original drug case.

“There’s restrictions on what we can use the money for, but basically it’s to buy equipment to fight the war on drugs,” Carter said.

In the past month, Lee County deputies have collected about $40,000 in cash and property during drug arrests. Friday, Holly said, deputies recovered about 10 grams of crack cocaine and several hundred dollars.

“If they don’t have cash, we start looking for vehicles. If they don’t have vehicles, we start looking for personal property,” Holly said.

Some who owe money are in prison and cannot pay, but the tax bill waits for them.

“You can’t get their money if they don’t have any money, but the tax debt will be there when they get out,” Holly said.

The tax rates the state set for illegal drugs include $3.50 per gram for marijuana, $50 per gram for cocaine and $200 per gram for heroin.

When the state seizes vehicles or other property to pay the taxes, the state sells them at auction to convert them to cash.

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  • superman Jan 30, 2007

    drugs and prostitution are illegal but I would much prefer to see law enforcement going after the real crooks. You remember Cary police putting cams in church to catch the old man taking money out of the collection plate. What a waste.

  • sobercuban Jan 29, 2007

    SWEET! The government has gotten yet another way to profit off the drug trade ... LOOK OUT CARTELS.
    Well looks like they are going to have to resume executions. Got to fill up them jails quick so we can raise taxes to build and fill more.
    Cool let's keep people locked up for as long as possible so they can make worse company.
    Let's take their cars so they can't get to the crappy jobs they have to look forward to after they attain a criminal record.
    Cool, let's take their property and lets take their homes so they can live on the streets and start breaking into homes, cars, businesses, etc. to get money for their addiction or even food.
    Then when they get so desperate that they REALLY do something serious lock them back up and throw away the key.
    **phew** At least I can still get alcohol through room service and get hammered because I know that there is no "war on" drunks like me. Stay away from the crack kids! Get Drunk! Liquor doesn't come with a tax penalty!

  • builder276 Jan 29, 2007

    are the Kennedys going to pay back taxes for the money they made off boot-leg liquor during prohabition

  • Sandtiger Jan 29, 2007

    Following the logic tree here with a smirk on my face while typing it...If we tax drug income doesn't that recognize the income as legal tender? (I'm laughing just thinking about the absurdity of that thought) If it helps keep people from the dangers of this kind of addiction i'm for it. Just as long as its the dealers/etc that are getting hhit with the stiffest penalties. I'd hate to see some college kid learning a hard lesson with the maximum penalty like this.

  • diwanicki Jan 29, 2007

    i agree with the 3 of you

  • oldrebel Jan 29, 2007

    Hmmmmm.Folks, this is what they mean when they say "There's a new Sheriff in town!" LOL and what is significant about this Sheriff, is that he's out busting and giving the criminals pure t living hell "after" the election instead of the the way it's been for a generation, "just before" the election. Not throwing stones, but it's what he was elected to do, and By God, the man is doing it. Hat's off to a sheriff who meant business when he made his campaign promises. Now if we could just find a presidential candidate that was equally reliable after the election...male or female..white or black.

  • herbie versmels Jan 29, 2007

    lets start taxing dumb people also. no more school bonds will be needed.

  • saywhaaaaat Jan 29, 2007