The newly released Asheville Police Department evidence room audit offers further clues to what guns, drugs and money went missing from the department. Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

Every day, our journalism dismantles barriers and shines a light on the critical overlooked and under-reported issues important to all North Carolinians.

Digital and paper copy available for review

Finished on Dec. 11, 2011, its 15 binders contain more than 4,000 pages of summaries, copies of emails and memos, diagrams and maps, property reports and page after page after page of spreadsheets.

It been the source of public speculation; dozens of TV, radio, print and online news reports; a lawsuit pressing for its disclosure and debate in a hotly contested race to become the next Buncombe County district attorney.

It’s the Asheville Police Department’s most-debated evidence room audit.

Commission about three years ago by Asheville City Council, auditors launched a review of the largest municipal police force in Western North Carolina after it was discovered that an unknown amount of drugs, guns and money were missing from the property and evidence room.

After rejecting earlier requests for its release, Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore made the audit public in June, two days after a federal judge sentenced former room manager Lee Smith to 10 months in prison followed by a year’s probation for stealing drugs from the evidence room. The evidence room manager for 20 years, Smith was suspended in 2011 after he tested positive on a drug test. In March 2013, he pled guilty to stealing drugs — mostly prescription painkillers and marijuana — from the evidence room.

Here, the evidence room audit is published in its entirety for the first time.

Copied, scanned and offered below by Carolina Public Press, the audit may now be freely downloaded, read, shared and reviewed by the public in its digital form. Carolina Public Press is also providing a paper copy for public access in the North Carolina collection at Pack Memorial Library in downtown Asheville.

Editorial Intern Chase Erickson contributed to this report.

Special Report

For more on Carolina Public Press’s reporting on the audit — and the related fall-out from its findings — read all the posts in our special section.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Angie,
    Thanks for getting this out to the public- and thanks for thinking of having a hard copy available for viewing at the library.
    Carolina Public Press does an outstanding job and sets the standard for journalistic professionalism.