More than $2 million worth of cocaine along with 560 pounds of marijuana, 66 guns, and cash vanished from the Memphis Police property and evidence room, a state audit shows. Federal prosecutors say the loot was carted out the property room’s back door and sold, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Many city workers and accused drug dealers face federal charges, and one attorney has been charged with laundering profits through his firm. Police officials hired Jay Liner to clean up the operation in December 2000; now he has been charged with stealing guns, jewelry, golf clubs, and champagne from the room.
The property room holds evidence for trials, as well as seized weapons. When it is no longer needed, it’s supposed to be destroyed. But high-value items were routinely siphoned off. Auditors found that too many workers had access to evidence, and storage was inadequate, and that clerks could alter property room records, making thefts possible. Auditors found marijuana lying around loose on shelves and the floor. Memphis Police Deputy Director Ray Schwill vowed to make the property room a model for other cities.