PASSING THE BUCKS sMWfc Galveston Gburtry^Sfferiff x)oe Max Taylo^J^M, receives a check for more than $11 7,000 Stall photo by Kevin.Bartram •..?•'. ' •' •%.>'• ..."., from U.S. Rep. Jack Brooks Thursday afternoon. Feds give county sheriff seized drug money to fight traffickers By ROY MAYNARD Tho Dally News GALVESTON - The U.S. Customs Department handed over nearly $118,000 to Sheriff Joe Max Taylor Thursday as part of a program to use money from drugs for law enforcement. A federal law allows the Customs Department to share seized assets with local agencies that helped in the busts, said Customs Special Agent Steven Hooper. "The good thing is we're using money from drug trafficking to help fight it," Hooper said after he gave Taylor a check for $117,929. Taylor said the money v/ill be used to buy a piece of undercover equipment, something not found at all along the Gulf coast. "I can't really say what it is, but it's going to help not only our efforts, but the efforts of the county narcotics task force and the Drug Enforcement Agency," Taylor said. Sheriffs deputies aided Customs on two occasions, Hooper said. The first came in May 1990, when officials in Panama seized 100 pounds of cocaine. Customs agents kept the seizure secret, and arranged to meet the New York buyers in a sting opera- tion. The two buyers came to Galveston County from New York; they were arrested, and the money they'd brought to trade for the cocaine was seized. The second incident began as a routine traffic stop in April 1990, Hooper said. When the driver's vehicle was searched, $228,971 in cash was found, along with a stolen pistol. Later, another $28,000 was found in the suspect's home. "This is an outstanding example of what federal and local agencies can do when they work together," said Rep. Jack Brooks, who was on hand for the ceremony.