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Johnston County Uses Seized Money To Fight War On Drugs

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tom lock and patrick roberts
JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell gave thousands of dollars to the county's district attorney Monday to help move drug-related court cases more quickly through the justice system.

Bizzell presented a check for more than $60,000 to District Attorney Tom Lock to fund an additional prosecutor to focus solely on drug cases in the county.

Bizzell said he has doubled his staff over the last six years to keep up with rising drug activity. District Attorney Tom Lock, however, has not had that luxury.

Until now, Lock had only one prosecutor to handle all the county's drug-related cases, which make up 40 percent of all court cases in Johnston County.

The funding, Bizzell said, comes from past drug cases in which money was seized.

"I'm excited to be using drug dealer money to prosecute other drug dealers," Bizzell said.

While the check is a one-time gift, Lock says there is more than enough work to justify the job.

Bizzell said he has about $375,000 in seized drug money in an account that typically buys computers and equipment for deputies. He said he thinks this is the first time a sheriff's department in North Carolina has funded a prosecutor position.

Lock announced Monday that the funding would go to pay the salary of Patrick Roberts, who previously worked in the New Hanover County District Attorney's Office.


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