Law enforcement departments earns back more than $14,000

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Local Photo | Robertson County News
Robertson County DA, Coty Siegert presents Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak with a check for $9,796.00.

Dennis Phillips | Robertson County News

The Robertson County DA’s office handed out checks this past week for work well done by two law enforcement agencies in Robertson County.

The Robertson County Sheriff’s Office received $9,796.00 for property seizure that lead to the sale of land. The Property was the result of the largest marijuana bust in Robertson County back in May of 2011.

The Robertson County’s Sheriff’s office along with the Texas Department of Public Service used a helicopter to identify the property owned by Bernardo Lara, 67 of Bryan. On the 20-acre track of land, in the southern part of the county near Benchley, officers uncovered 1,336 marijuana plants valued at $400,000.00.

Constable Benny McCrea also received funds in the amount of $4,706.78. McCrea’s check was the direct result of a 2013 bust of illegal operation of gambling machines. “I take pleasure when our hard work and actions can be returned to those trying to make Robertson County a safe place to live,” said Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert on his Facebook page.

Officer Paul Shipper, who works for McCrea, went undercover to expose several illegal gambling operations in Robertson County. Though this is just the first of those investigations, Siegert reported $10,000.00 in funds as well as numerous machines seized as a result of the operation.

Property seizure is a civil matter, and as such, the defendants filled a civil suit for the return of the machines. “These machines were taking up a lot of space in the evidence room. There was a high probability that Robertson County could have won that suit, but at a cost to the taxpayer,” said Siegert.

Shipper had found a buyer for the machines out of state; however, Siegert chose to allow the machines to be return to the owners with the stipulation that they would not be operated within Robertson County. “We have pictures, these machines are readily identifiable should they return to our county,” said Siegert.

While it has been reported that there are more locations that Officer Shipper identified as a direct result of his undercover operation, these locations are still under investigation and the County DA’s office cannot divulge any more information as to hinder the investigation.

In most cases, the seized property is a direct result of illegal activity and once a case is closed, funds from sales or seized cash can be distributed to the departments. The County DA’s office basically splits the proceeds with the investigating department.

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