Fayette County's major drug busts reduce crime, bring revenue

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on March 10, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 11 at 10:42 AM

FAYETTE COUNTY, Texas -- A rural Texas county is keeping busy with several major drug busts under their belt already this year. The Fayette County Sheriffs Office says they're tackling illegal narcotics and eliminating some other problems along the way.

Fayette County sits about 70 miles southeast of Austin. The rural area hosts a population of almost 25,000 people.

"We're very proud of our little county here," said Lt. David Beyer with the sheriff's office.

Beyer says there's not much crime in Fayette County, and a big part of the reason is their focus on one thing -- narcotics.

"They had bundles of cocaine shoved up in that in a false bed," Lt. Beyer said, describing a seized truck in the office's impound lot.

Thursday investigators seized 18 kilos of heroin. The drugs were found inside batteries in a truck traveling from South Texas. The heroin has an estimated value of $4.2 million.

It's the sixth major drug seizure in Fayette County this year and the fourth for investigator Randy Thumann.

"They try to hide it. We try to find it. It's fun to play the cat and mouse game," explained Investigator Thumann.

The sheriff's office says typically the vehicles travel from Mexico or the valley in South Texas, on to Houston, then they cut through Fayette County headed north.

"If you've got someone who's hooked on a narcotic they'll rob, they'll steal, they'll commit offenses that maybe they wouldn't if they weren't on a narcotic," said Beyer.

It's also a source of revenue for the county.

"This is our impound lot for the sheriff's office," Beyer said showing a lot with more than 20 vehicles.

In addition to the drugs, officers seize vehicles, cash and sometimes even land that is turned over to the county and can be auctioned off.

Beyer also showed KVUE their evidence room full of weapons, piles of marijuana, vessels of cocaine and all of that heroin from Thursday's seizure.

"You seem a little bit nervous, man, you alright?" Investigator Thumann asked a driver on the side of I-10, pulled over for speeding. "Is it OK if I search the vehicle?"

Using his instincts and years of training, Thumann took apart nearly every piece of the car -- an Audi traveling to Houston from Mexico.

"Usually it's not in plain sight; it's hidden in these elaborate compartments that they have inside the vehicle," he explained.

His canine sidekick, Lobos, is also on the job. The pair train together on a daily basis.

"It pays off when we're out there on the side of the road and you need him to find something that you can't find," Thumann said.

Like most stops, they don't find anything this time.

"You take chances. You're playing a game," explained Beyer. "And it's who's going to play that game the best that's going to win."

It's a game that can be dangerous.

"Do they have guns? Do they have someone following them protecting this load?" Beyer said. "You've got to have a special mindset when you're out there working."

Beyer says they take the chance and put their life on the line in hopes of catching that next load and putting another criminal behind bars.

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