Society

South Carolina Police Rake in Big Money During 4 Day Sweep, Little Jail Time (Video)

| by Michael Allen

The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Department stopped more than 1,000 vehicles and searched 171 during "Operation Rolling Thunder" for four days in October 2013.

"Operation Rolling Thunder" is when law enforcement agencies across South Carolina pull drivers over for everything from speeding to broken bulb lights.

"Operation Rolling Thunder" only brought a few arrests and a single felony conviction by the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Department, according to a report by WTSP (video below), which checked the court papers of every person charged during the four days of enforcement.

While "Operation Rolling Thunder" failed to lock any dangerous criminals up, it did rake in nearly $100,000 in confiscated cash and will bring in thousands more via fines for Spartanburg County.

PoliceStateUSA.com notes that law enforcement can seize cash and/or property under what is known as "civil asset forfeiture," even without actually charging the owner with a crime. The owner then has to go to court prove his or her innocence, which can be more expensive than the property and/or cash seized by law enforcement.

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The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Department legally cannot use the confiscated cash for salaries, but can spend it on new police cruisers, drug-sniffing dogs and officer training.

“You know it's a part of it, but it isn’t the main reason we do it," Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told WTSP. “It’s a bonus actually when you get the cash or you get the cars we seize and sell."

According to court records, 62 percent of the people arrested by the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Department were charged with a “simple possession of marijuana” misdemeanor.

Most of those people paid a $200 fine, plus court costs.

Spartanburg County Sheriff's Deputies made almost a dozen felony arrests, but so far two of those cases were thrown out of court and there is only one conviction.

South Carolina law enforcement agencies do not announce when "Operation Rolling Thunder" will happen, so citizens have no way of knowing if they will be next.

Sources: WTSPPoliceStateUSA.com