IL Sheriff Seizes, Sells Guns. But Does He Have the Authority?

Dozens of guns taken from crime scenes and accused criminals in Coles County have been sold or traded.

That much is clear.

ISN’T TALKING: Sheriff Darrell Cox won’t answer questions about seized guns, says it’s political.

But ask whether the sheriff had the power to make those deals, and things get murky.

A joint investigation by Illinois Watchdog and the Edgar County Watchdogs looked into the sale or trade of weapons seized by Coles County Sheriff Darrell Cox.

But Cox wouldn’t answer our questions.

Illinois Watchdog repeatedly reached out to Cox, who made it clear he would not comment on his department’s seizure policy, because he thinks the issue is political.

Cox is running for state representative in the 110th District.

Coles County Chief Deputy Kerry Whitley hung up when Illinois Watchdog tried to clarify the dates surrounding the seized and sold weapons.

“This is all political,” Whitley said in a brief phone call Monday. “We don’t discuss politics.”

But there’s more to the story.

Information uncovered through Freedom of Information requests show that, on Aug. 20, 2012, the Coles County Sheriff’s Office traded 11 pistols, shotguns and rifles to Kaskaskia Firearms for two AR-15 rifles.

Records also show the sale of 37 other guns, but there is no data to indicate when those transactions happened or for how much the guns were sold.

MAYBE BACK ON THE STREET: Guns seized in Coles County can end-up back on the streets.