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Reports shed light on vehicles

The three drug cases involving the condemnation of the vehicles seized during the arrests have resulted in the city paying out money for the cars.

“The cars are gone,” said Mayor George Evans. “Those are the facts.”

The Selma Times-Journal has obtained the investigative report prepared by Selma Police Chief William T. Riley III and submitted to Evans on March 30.

In a summary of the report, Riley states, “Condemnations were typed up, notarized and turned into the district attorney’s office. Civil summons were typed up, but they were never picked up and served on the listed individuals. Because the civil summonses were not served on the defendants in a timely manner, all the condemnations cases were dismissed.”

Riley also stated that when the drug unit was disbanded under former chief Jimmy Martin, there was no one to keep track of the cars or condemnations.

“This resulted in the property being awarded back to the owners,” the report states. “The vehicles had been moved from the police department alley and no one kept track of who towed them and where they towed them to.”

The police department has checked every towing company that does business with it for these vehicles. Checks of the National Criminal Information Center and through Alabama records have shown the three cars have not been registered with the current owner or a new owner.

Here’s the breakdown owner by owner:

Aaron Harris was stopped in his black Chevrolet Caprice on July 24, 2006 by police officer Chris Harris for no tag. During the stop, the officer asked the driver, Harris, if he had guns or illegal drugs in the car. Aaron Harris told the officer he had a handgun between the front seats of the vehicle and the driver gave the handgun to the police officer. The driver, Harris, also gave the police officer permission to search the car for illegal drugs. When officer Harris opened the trunk, he smelled marijuana. He searched and found a black backpack in the trunk. Inside the backpack were two large bags of marijuana, about 416 grams or 14.673 ounces, which is about the size of a can of green beans. The officer charged Aaron Harris with unlawful possession of controlled substance and unlawfully carrying a pistol.

Circle T Towing transported the vehicle Aaron Harris drove to police headquarters. Phillip Harris, Aaron’s older brother, owned the vehicle. The police returned the vehicle to Phillip Harris after he showed proof of ownership.

Aaron Harris had three cell phones, which were seized and later returned to him. He had $1,222 that was seized, but never turned into City Hall.

“All property was initially seized by officer Harris and turned over to Sgt. [Sam] Miller,” the report states. “Sgt. Miller signed the property over to Det.[Tim] Barnhill. Det. Barnhill signed for all the property and turned the marijuana over Sgt. [Tommy] Weber to be sent to the lab in Montgomery for testing. All other property was maintained by Det. Barnhill.”

Barnhill typed up the condemnation on the black Chevy Caprice, notarized it on Nov. 14, 2006, and turned it into the district attorney’s office. The civil summons was typed up by the 4th Judicial Task Force and sent back to the clerk’s office, but the summons was never picked up and served on Arron Harris.

On Sept. 9, 2006, members of the Selma Police Department Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at 2133 Eugene Ave. after receiving information that illegal drugs were sold out of the residence. The officers used a confidential informant to go inside and make a controlled buy. Once the buy was completed, officers executed a search warrant. The controlled buy was made from Aaron Harris, who was not at home when officers entered the residence, but illegal narcotics, a gun, scales, $21 and marijuana from inside a white Chevrolet Caprice parked in the yard were taken. The vehicle was taken to the police department.

Barnhill inventoried and maintained all property. The narcotics were signed over to Weber by Barnhill to be sent to a lab in Montgomery for testing.

Barnhill typed up a condemnation on the car and notarized it on Nov. 14, 2006. He turned it into the district attorneys office. The civil summons was typed up by the 4th Judicial Task Force and sent back to the clerk’s office, but the summons was never picked up and served on Aaron Harris.

Harris was arrested on Oct. 15, 2006, after a police officer spotted him at the Shell station on Broad Street. At the time of the arrest, Harris had some marijuana on him. He was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree.

The VIN number from the white Caprice registered no record from NCIC to show it had been sold or registered to a new owner.

On Aug. 9, 2006, a Selma police officer stopped a white Honda Accord driven by Desi Beavers on Dallas Avenue. As Beavers stepped from his vehicle, the officer noticed five clear bags containing a white powdery substance in the driver’s door. Beavers was charged with trafficking in cocaine. The car was taken to police headquarters.

Barnhill typed up the condemnation on the Accord and notarized it on Nov. 14, 2006. He turned it into the district attorney’s office. The 4th Judicial Task Force typed up the civil summons and sent it back to the clerk’s office, but the summons was never picked up and served on Beavers.

The VIN number from the Accord was run through NCIC and no record of the vehicle was found to show the car was sold or registered to a new owner.