Athens Sheriff Says Evidence Room Needs Maintenance

Posted on:

< < Back to

After 13 pounds of marijuana were seized from a hydroponic bust last week, the Athens County Sheriff's Office had to put it somewhere.

When deputies put the plants upstairs in their evidence area, the smell permeated through not only the sheriff's office, but also the Athens County Courthouse and the corner of the street where the two buildings sit.

"I've already had texts reporting that the courthouse smells like weed," said Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly. "We have the smell for a week or so and then we just become used to it."

The confiscated drugs — along with another nine pounds brought in from busts Thursday and Friday — join more than 100 pounds of marijuana in the evidence room of the sheriff's office.

The evidence room, which includes pounds of dried marijuana in plastic trash bags, firearms, drugs, paraphernalia and various other pieces of evidence from all sorts of cases, is out of control, according to the sheriff.

"We have no room to put new cases because we're overflowing," Kelly said.

The sheriff brought his concerns to the county commissioners at a meeting, but said there hasn't been movement on getting more room.

In an email to all the commissioners on Monday, the sheriff said commissioners previously told him files from the third floor would be moved. The commissioners and the sheriff also talked about a location on Lancaster Street where records could be taken.

"We are in the process of getting a records center up and running on Lancaster Street," Commissioner Lenny Eliason told The Messenger. "We anticipate the move will be done sometime in the next couple of months, after everything has been properly categorized and moved over."

Commissioner Charlie Adkins sent a response letter to the sheriff on Monday saying no boxes or files would be taken at the new records center until it is "fully functional."

"Peg (Six, records center director) is working on a policy that any elected official or department head will have to agree to in order to store their records," Adkins said in the email he provided to The Messenger. "As you know, records are a serious matter and we are working on a solution."

County Clerk Ann Trout said the move was in the process, but she was not sure of a set move date for the records from her office.