Former Burke Narcotics Task Force leader pleads guilty to embezzlement

Former head of narcotics team pleads guilty

MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) - Former Burke County Sheriff’s Lieutenant and Narcotics Task Force supervisor pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stealing more than $13,000 of task force money.

Jody Price was fired a few days after the money was discovered missing in march, 2018. Authorities believe the thefts began in August of 2017 after Price’s wife lost her job. The money that was taken was not cash that had been seized in drug operations, instead, it was money budgeted for drug operations. Price, as Task Force Leader, would have checks made out to him to cash and disperse to agents working in the field. Prosecutors say Price kept some for himself.

After an SBI investigation, he was indicted last year on a felony charge of Embezzlement by a Government Employee. Price was given a 13 to 25 month suspended sentence and ordered to repay the more than $13,000 he’s accused of taking from the agency’s Narcotics Task Force.

The judge placed Price on probation for four years.

Findings showed that Price submitted check requests to the administration finance office for special funds from August 1, 2017 to March 1, 2018.

“Checks were mailed directly to the Narcotics Task Force, and Price would cash them using his personal bank account,” court officials say.

Sheriff Steve Whisenant says it was a tough for his deputies to deal with. “The public has to trust their local law enforcement,” and added, “we can’t let it taint this Sheriff’s office.”

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