What happens to all of the money seized in drug busts in Horry County?

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Each year, officers in Horry County take case, cars, and even homes of convicted drug dealers.

Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says that money is split up between different agencies that help to seize it, and now, more than ever, they’re cracking down on drug traffickers to take what they own.

“Bank accounts, houses, businesses, all of those things, we have been going after those,” said Richardson.

If the arrest is made by the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit, Richardson says 75% of those assets go to pay for equipment for the unit, and any extra money goes to state and local law enforcement that contribute to the drug unit.

“It goes back to the police. They can use if for whatever the law allows, but I don’t want it. I just don’t want the drug trafficker to have it,” said Richardson.

Richardson says there’s a push from the state level for and against seizing big-ticket items like homes or cars, but he says he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure the drugs stay off the streets.

“The reason you’ve got this car is because of money that you’ve made selling this poison. I want to take that. I want to take that house, I want to take the bank account, I want to take all of it,” said Richardson.

One important part of recovering drug money is actually declaring it drug money when officers take it from a dealer.

Richardson says they hire a civil attorney to go out and start the process of getting a judge to agree it is drug money.

A portion of the money seized goes to pay for those legal fees.