News and Press Releases

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Monday - March 8, 2004

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced today the sharing of forfeited drug assets from the "Harvest Moon" OCDETF (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) investigation with the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office and the N. C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). As a result of this drug investigation, the United States seized bank accounts belonging to Earl B. McLean of Southport, N. C., alleging that the money in the accounts had been obtained in part from McLean's sales of marijuana. McLean pled guilty to criminal drug charges in state court and agreed with the United States Attorney's Office to forfeit $300,000.00. The money was forfeited through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the federal investigative agency in the case.

Of the forfeited funds, $119,000.00 has been shared with the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, and $119,000.00 went to the SBI. Sheriff Ron Hewett accepted the funds on behalf of his department, and NCSBI Special Agent Mark Francisco accepted for the SBI. The remainder of the funds went to the United States. The forfeited funds shared with the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office have been designated for the purchase of equipment.

U. S. Attorney Whitney said, "Federal law requires that this money and any interest earned on this money must be used only for law enforcement purposes. Also, since the intent of this transfer is to enhance law enforcement, these funds must increase and not supplant the appropriated operating budgets of these agencies."

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

Note: Check presentation photo may be obtained by contacting the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office at 910/253-2777.

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