Heflin council hears of $216K drug bust on I-20
April 11, 2017
By Bill Wilson
The Anniston Star

The Heflin Police Department now owns a tractor-trailer truck, which police Chief A.J. Benefield says contained bottles of flavored water and money — $216,000 — when it was stopped by Heflin police officers on I-20.  

During a regular report to the Heflin City Council Tuesday night, Benefield said money had been found in a hidden compartment in the 18-wheeler during a traffic stop.

The chief said later the stop,  for a traffic violation, had been carried out late on the night of April 6 by Sgt. Cory LigonDuring a roadside interview the officer asked for permission to search, which the two occupants of the vehicle granted.

A woman was driving and a man was the passenger in the truck, which was out of Texas. Benefield declined to release their names.
 Several other officers, including a K-9 unit, assisted Ligon. The dog partnered with K-9 officer Danny Turner discovered the money in a hidden compartment of the tractor-trailer, Benefield said.

The chief mentioned to the council that 90 percent of the seized money will go to Heflin police and the other 10 percent will go to the Calhoun-Cleburne District Attorney’s office for processing the case.
The seized tractor-trailer will become police property, according to Benefield. The seized money may be used to buy equipment, vehicles and training but not for salaries, Benefield said.

The pallets of flavored water on the tractor-trailer were off-loaded at B.R. Williams in Calhoun County and were being returned to the company that owns them.

In other business, the council:
— Approved an alcohol license for the Fred’s Store on Ross Street for beer and wine sales off premises.
— Approved an engineering contract for $58,850 to LBYD Engineering firm. This was for the added costs of the engineering study the city pays for in connection with construction of the new Campbell Street bridge. The state of Alabama pays for the construction of the bridge and the city of Heflin funds the engineering costs.
— Modified the city of Heflin drug and alcohol policy for city employees. If a city employee is in a motor vehicle accident he or she must be drug-tested.
— Held a first reading of an ordinance moving the sales tax holiday for school supplies to the third weekend in July instead of the first weekend in August.

City Clerk Shane Smith reported that later this week he will be certified as a municipal revenue officer.

“I’m excited, I have learned a lot of things.  It’s already benefiting the city and that’s finding lost revenue. The goal is to increase revenue so we can increase services for the citizens,” Smith said.
It took Smith five years to complete the course, offered by the University of Alabama, which will allow him to help the city with audits and taxes.