Retired Agent: Uncollected Fines Hurting Drug Task Force

The West Tennessee Drug Task Force may be forced to close next year because fines designated to fund the task force are not being assessed or collected, the task force's former head says. Donny Blackwell, who retired as special agent in charge of the task force on Aug. 31, told the Jackson Sun that 28th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Clayburn Peebles has declared drug offenders indigent and waived the fines that would fund the task force. Blackwell said other fees that cover court costs are rarely waived. “I have not seen many drug dealers over the years that had a legitimate job,” Blackwell said. “On paper they are indigent because they do not have a legitimate job. But I have seen these same indigent drug offenders make multiple bonds for thousands of dollars to get out of jail and then hire and pay a private attorney thousands of dollars to represent them.”