Crime has its reward for city police department

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   Crime doesn't pay. But sometimes the payoff can be pretty good for law enforcement.
   Last month, the Elizabethton Police Department received a check for $3,192 from the U.S. Treasury, representing the department's "Equitable Sharing of Asset Forfeiture Proceeds" resulting from a Sullivan County drug case.
   According to U.S. Attorney Dan Smith, Gerald Scott Long of Kingsport pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court and was sentenced to approximately years 12 in prison on cocaine charges following the largest drug bust in Sullivan County in the last 25 years.
   Elizabethton Police Chief Roger Deal said a city officer assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration was involved in the investigation and arrest, expending about 1,000 hours on the 16-month investigation which involved the TBI, 2nd and 3rd Judicial District Drug Task Forces, Bristol vice units and the DEA task force in Johnson City.
   The investigation began in August 1996 and continued through November 2000, resulting in the convictions of 11 persons, including one man, identified as Herman Rosenboro of Kingsport, who was given a life sentence due to prior convictions.
   According to DEA, there were several indictments a couple of years following 1996 but there was not enough evidence at that time to indict Long. Agents continued working the case, making buys from Long's underlings, who were later convicted. Long's source of cocaine and crack cocaine in Florida was apprehended and decided to help the DEA.
   Agents then set up a 22-kilo "reverse," in which officers posed as drug dealers. An undercover agent met with Long at a Super 8 motel in Colonial Heights and showed him the drugs. Long brought with him to the motel room a $79,800 down-payment. A kilo is worth about $22,000, according to DEA, which said that Long was basically selling about 20 kilos a month in the Tri-Cities area and Georgia.
   When Long was arrested, the $79,800 was seized.
   "We get 4 percent of it," Chief Deal said. "That's the first check we've ever gotten."
   Because funding is tight, the money will be used to purchase equipment, according to Deal.
   The Elizabethton Police Department's share of the proceeds "illustrates the benefit of cooperation between state and federal agencies which is yielding revenues to state law enforcement agencies to intensify their war on drug and violent crime," said Harry S. Mattice Jr., U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
   "It is the hope of this office that these equitable sharing funds will help make a difference in the fight against crime in the state of Tennessee," Mattice said.