Audit reveals missing guns, drugs and money at Buncombe Sheriff’s Department

Buncombe County has released a sheriff’s evidence-room audit report citing “poor management, poor organizational skills and failure to maintain a clear chain of custody” during the administration of former Sheriff Bobby Medford. The report, which was the subject of an in-depth article in today’s Asheville Citizen-Times, is dated May 2007.

Auditors selected a 30-item sample from the Evidence Inventory Database. The result of that examination revealed major problems, according to the report: “The audit disclosed that 50 percent of the sample was no longer in evidence inventory; 27 percent of the sample could not be located and 14 percent of located items had been compromised. With a 91 percent error rate, the audit was expanded to to a complete inventory before evidence rooms were released to the new Sheriff’s administration.”

The full audit revealed “poor inventory management” and “evidence bags found open with contents missing,” and noted that “[t]he lack of controls and management in the evidence room created an environment that could lead to previous court convictions being overturned or future cases being compromised.”

Furthermore, items that could not be accounted for included $217,769 in cash, 233 hand guns, 114 shotguns/rifles, and drugs noted on 1,318 evidence-reporting sheets. In addition, the report says, “Numerous evidence items were found with no case identification markings including drugs, guns and rape kits.”

This audit may lend weight to allegations made to Xpress by former deputy Brenda Fraser in the course of this newspaper’s investigation of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department and former Sheriff Bobby Medford. Fraser, who worked in the department’s administrative office during Medford’s tenure, said that “Bobby gives guns from the evidence locker to his friends.” At the time, Xpress could not corroborate Fraser’s assertion.

Xpress stories about possible misconduct during Medford’s 12 years as sheriff have included: “The Long Arm of the Law,” June 26, 2002, “Questionable Conduct?” Oct. 23, 2002, “More Questions in Medford Incident,” Nov. 6, 2002,  “Buncombe Justice on Trial,”  June 18, 2003, and “Wanna Bet?” July 20, 2005.

Medford’s attorney, Bob Long, told Xpress he knew nothing beyond what had been reported today in the Asheville Citizen-Times. “That paper reported that he has referred all questions to [County Manager] Wanda Greene,” Long said.

As of the time of this posting, Greene was not available for comment.

— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer

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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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10 thoughts on “Audit reveals missing guns, drugs and money at Buncombe Sheriff’s Department

  1. Dionysis

    If Frazier’s charge that Medford gave weapons from the evidence room to his pals, then this goes far beyond mere “poor management.” It becomes a serious criminal matter (I wonder if he gave the drugs to other ‘friends’?).

    And to think, for years, Republicans have touted their managerial expertise, accountability and vigorous adherence to the law. What a laugh. What’s even funnier is to read some of the blogs in today’s AC-T, whereby some reality-challenged souls are trying to politicize the whole matter, charging that this is all the work of those insidious Democrats.

    Republicans: More corrupt, incompetent and dishonest than ever.

  2. I’m with you on the first paragraph, but the final two paragraphs make you look like a hypocrite. You are reacting to people politicizing issues by politicizing them. Good job.

  3. Wow. Where’s the anger coming from. I merely pointed out that you made a few good points, and then ruined them with your second and third paragraphs.

  4. Rizzian

    Back to your old tricks again, Bugg? Welcome back.

    As far as Medford is concerned, it’s not exactly a secret that the man’s organization was shady. I’ve heard too many stories about him giving his buddies breaks, and letting his deputies get away with pretty much whatever they can. I’m glad he’s gone, honestly.

  5. jason doesnt comment on the topic, he enlightens us with his insight into our posts, like some kind of benevelant logic professora from another dimension.

  6. mtndow

    Welcome to bum-f county y’all. Ain’t nothing changed here. It was like this before Bobby and it’s not going to change unless we do something.
    I will call Heath and see if The FBI has got time for this crap. Start filling up that new jail and see who squeals
    300 weapons, a quarter million bucks an a ton-o-dope. Is that sugar on your doughnut deputy?

  7. Sam Smith

    I think that one man alone could not have done this

    maybe IRS ,SBI and Roy Cooper should look into the

    District Attorneys office as well. I think they would find

    many abuses.

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