The audit of the Asheville Police Department evidence room was completed Jan. 9, but don’t expect the details to go public soon. While Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore has told some media that the audit showed that around 200 drug parcels might be missing, the Buncombe County District Attorney’s keeping the results secret, even from city government.
“I’ve not seen the report, I don’t know what’s in it, I don’t know what it looks like, I don’t know how many pages it is,” City Manager Gary Jackson tells Xpress. “Moore said he would release it. I asked about timing, he didn’t give me any indication. I’m in the same cloud you are.”
Jackson says he got a tour of the evidence room on Jan. 11 and “was made aware of significant progress,” including a new barcode and security system. He describes the tour as beneficial, and adds that Mike Wright, the former Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office analyst who’s overseeing the audit, is continuing to work.
Moore has not responded to repeated requests from Xpress to discuss the results of the audit. On Jan. 20, Xpress made an open records request asking for the full report or for a stated reason why it could not be released. The request was faxed over to Moore’s office, instead of the standard e-mail as, according to a receptionist, “he never checks [his e-mail],” and no other official could deal with the request.
The final audit report was submitted to Moore Jan. 9, and he told the Citizen-Times on Jan. 10 that the audit indicated around 200 missing evidence parcels that could be drugs. Last April, the State Bureau of Investigation shut down the APD evidence room following the discovery of missing drugs. Moore, who had to delay or dismiss cases due to the evidence issues, was furious, and blasted APD Chief Bill Hogan for not informing him when an earlier internal audit indicated missing guns, drugs and money. Amid ongoing controversy, Hogan announced his retirement shortly after.