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What Do The Police Do With Drug Money

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How Police Officers Seize Cash From Innocent Americans

Oconee Co. Sheriff explains what they do with seized money, drugs, and property

Priceonomics

On February 17, 2014, a 24-year-old college student named Charles Clarke checked a bag at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and parked himself in a chair near the boarding gate. Having just visited relatives, he was in high spirits, and eager to return to his home in Florida.

But Clarkes day took an unexpected turn.

Two uniformed men an airport police detective and a local Drug Enforcement Administration officer approached by Clarke and corralled him into a fluorescent backroom. His checked bag sat on a table. One of the men turned to him and grunted, This smells like marijuana. An extensive search ensued, which yielded no trace of drugs in Clarkes luggage. But buried between t-shirts, in the young mans bag, the officers discovered something of greater interest: $11,000 in cash.

The cash, earned through five years of hard work at fast-food restaurants and retail outlets, represented Clarkes life savings money he intended to use for tuition fees. But the officers didnt buy his story. Based solely on the fact that his bag smelled like weed, they claimed that the $11,000 was related to drug trafficking and seized it.

Using cash that is unjustly seized from Americans, police departments across the nation buy firearms, SWAT gear, flat-screen TVs, and a slew of other goods they deem to be essential to operation.

A Brief History of Stealing Other Peoples Stuff

Manipulation of the Law

A civil forfeiture case filed in Nebraska

How Are Drugs Disposed Of

The 2015 order also mandated that all state governments establish a Drug Disposal Committee to ensure that the process of disposal is in compliance with the Pollution Control Board’s norms. The committee must contain an officer with the rank of Superintendent of Police, the Joint Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise and Joint Director of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence along with PCB officials.

However, drugs can be disposed only if the total amount of drugs in possession weighs a certain prescribed amount, police officers say.

“In 2018, with the help of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, we identified a factory in Magadi, where drugs are disposed of in incinerators. These are boilers with temperatures of 1000 degrees and the drugs are disposed of safely. The NDPS Act allows us to auction synthetic drugs to drug companies if they can be recycled but we have not done that due to fear of misuse,” a senior officer, who was formerly the Police Commissioner of Bengaluru said.

However, if the drugs are of smaller quantities and are not synthetic ones, the police burn it in an open space close to the jurisdictional station. “If it is ganja or hashish or hash oil, which weigh 100 gm or 200 gm, then it is burned in an empty plot. Generally it is done late in the night when people are not around. Smaller quantities of synthetic drugs are stored and once there is enough to incinerate, it is disposed of in a timely manner,” the officer said.

What Does The Constitution Say About Forfeiture

The Constitution requires due process before the government can forfeit property. This means owners have the right to be notified about the forfeiture proceedings and the right to be heard in the proceeding.

  • No Cost Bond. Owners do not have to file a cost bond with a claim
  • Right to Notice. DEA must mail a letter to all known interested parties informing them of the forfeiture proceedings no more than 60 days after a seizure

  • Publication. DEA must advertise the seizure online for 30 days

  • Proof. In all judicial forfeiture cases, the government must prove its case against the seized asset by a preponderance of the evidence

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How Can We Reverse This Trend

Some states are taking aggressive stances on civil asset forfeiture and cash seizure. New Mexico has banned it. In that state, law enforcement only may seize property after there has been a criminal conviction. All forfeiture monies are placed in a general state fund and may not be deposited into police department coffers.

Still, there are areas in NM that are not following the law. Albuquerque city continues to seize cash and property from people who have not been convicted of a crime.

What Are The Types Of Forfeiture

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There are two types of forfeiture: judicial and non-judicial .

DEA starts the administrative forfeiture process by mailing notice letters to interested parties and advertising the seized property on the Internet.

The U.S. Attorneys Office begins the judicial forfeiture process by filing either a civil complaint against the property or bringing criminal charges against a party .

Administrative Forfeiture is the process by which DEA processes the forfeiture without going to court. Administrative Forfeiture will be used to forfeit property unless by law the property has to be forfeited judicially or a party files a valid claim, which changes the administrative forfeiture into a judicial forfeiture.

A federal judge must forfeit real estate and most property valued over $500,000, with some exceptions.

  • Criminal forfeiture is included as part of a defendants criminal prosecution. If the defendant is convicted or has a plea agreement, the court may forfeit the property.
  • Civil forfeiture is a proceeding brought against the property itself. The government must prove that the property is connected to a crime, but a criminal conviction is not required. It is very similar to all other lawsuits involving property in the U.S., and allows the government to forfeit property when the property owner is unknown or unavailable.

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What Should You Do If Your Assets Are Seized

You should try to hire a good civil asset forfeiture attorney that is licensed in the state where the assets were taken. Even if you cannot afford a good lawyer, you still can challenge the polices action. All are entitled to a notice of forfeiture. You should look very closely at the deadline for filing any claims to your cash or property after you have been given notice.

Can The Police Keep Your Money After An Arrest And You Are Released On Bail With No Cause And Send It To Anotheragency

  • Posted on Oct 4, 2010

Unfortunately, when the police take money from an individual that later becomes a defendant, there are various sections in the law that allows them to forfeit your money. If they are going to attempt to take it they will have to send you notice and allow you time to claim those funds. In the case of a forfeiture because the police claim “its drug money” you can defend yourself by providing information about the source of the money they are attempting to take ie. your employment, gift, ssi/disability etc.You should consult an attorney about the possibility of fighting the forfeiture…also if they cannot prove the underlying case it will make it harder/impossible for them to take the money…but you will need to fight long and hard to get the money back.

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Secret Operations: The Peruvian Charged With Laundering Massive Amounts Of Drug Money

Miguel Gutiérrez , Iván Ruiz , Guillermo Draper , Cecilia Anesi , Milagros Salazar , Gonzalo Torrico , Daniela Castro , Nathan Jaccard , and Romina Colman Tweet this DONATE

For decades, Carlos Sein Atachahua allegedly led a global money laundering empire. Police say his gangs drugs, sent with logos depicting ancient Peruvian symbols, reached Italys Ndrangheta and other criminal groups, while corrupted money-exchange houses around the world were allegedly used to launder profits.

What Happens To Drugs Property And Other Assets Seized By Law Enforcement

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Handguns and containers of crystal meth are displayed at a news conference announcing the states largest methamphetamine bust in history, Thursday, July 14, 2011, in Las Vegas. Law enforcement agencies from Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City seized 200 pounds of the drug earlier in the week.

Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 | 2 a.m.

Its the law enforcement equivalent of a prized taxidermy moose hanging on the wall of a hunters den. Police departments tout their seized hauls of drugs, firearms, cash and other assets on social media after a major bust, displaying photos of what they took off the streets and usually delivering a message.

A proactive officers contact with the occupant of a parked suspicious vehicle yielded eight felony charges for possession of methamphetamine, heroin and several firearms-related offenses, possession of burglary tools, and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia, Mesquite police posted to Facebook last month. This is more proof that guns and drugs dont mix! Great job, officer for taking another dangerous criminal with guns off the street!!

The largest drug bust in Nevada history occurred in 2011, when law enforcement cracked a drug ring in Las Vegas that netted more than $5.7 million worth of heroin and methamphetamine. Officers also seized $280,000 in cash, nine vehicles, five handguns and one shotgun.

Storing and destroying

We often run out of space, she said. Its not an uncommon problem its a nationwide issue.

Private property

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Possession Of A Controlled Drug

For this offence the drugs themselves are normally the only actual evidence that the police and prosecution will have.

There is no fixed amount that can be said to be for personal use if you are caught in possession of a particularly large amount of drugs then the police may think that it is too much for your own needs and you could be charged with an offence of possession with intent to supply drugs, which is much more serious. However, your personal situation will be very important – if you use a high dose/quantity of drugs regularly it might be more likely that you will have a greater amount in your possession.

Exploitation Of Young And Vulnerable People

A common feature in county lines drug supply is the exploitation of young and vulnerable people. The dealers will frequently target children and adults – often with mental health or addiction problems – to act as drug runners or move cash so they can stay under the radar of law enforcement.

In some cases the dealers will take over a local property, normally belonging to a vulnerable person, and use it to operate their criminal activity from. This is known as cuckooing.

People exploited in this way will quite often be exposed to physical, mental and sexual abuse, and in some instances will be trafficked to areas a long way from home as part of the network’s drug dealing business.

As we have seen in child sexual exploitation, children often don’t see themselves as victims or realise they have been groomed to get involved in criminality. So it’s important that we all play our part to understand county lines and speak out if we have concerns.

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A Familys Legal Legacy

Atachahuas father had legal proceedings related to trafficking in Peru dating back to the 1960s. His mother, older sister, and brother-in-law have also been convicted for involvement in the drug business.

In the 1980s, Peruvian authorities arrested Atachahuas mother in a house containing more than nine kilograms of cocaine paste. In 2001 his older sister and others were arrested in Peru for drug possession for distribution and commercialization.

His brother-in-law, Enrique Sósimo Ángeles Flores, was captured in Peru in 2003 and sentenced to 10 years for drug trafficking. According to Atachahuas longtime accountant, Guastini, Angeles Flores was a central player in his organization.

In 1999, he had his first recorded brush with the law, when he was arrested and later sentenced to nine years in prison in Peru for drug trafficking and document forgery, after cocaine was found in a car he was riding in. He was freed early for reasons that remain unclear, and by the mid-2000s had made his way to Argentina.

Settling in the upscale Caballito neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Guastini said Atachahua started off selling drugs locally. But he soon broadened his horizons, taking his cocaine believed to have been sourced in Bolivia or Peru to Europe, via exit points in Uruguay and Brazil.

Peruvian flight and border data obtained by OCCRP supports this account, showing that the ambitious Atachahua was already traveling to Brazil and Chile as early as December 2002.

Edin Pasovic/OCCRP

Production Of A Controlled Drug

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As well as drugs themselves, the police will look for evidence that a drug has been produced at a particular place. This will include any equipment or ingredients that could be used to make a drug or to mix with it to bulk it out, or to separate a drug from a different substance.

If you let someone else produce drugs in your property you might be held responsible for it, or could at least be prosecuted for allowing the place to be used for the production of drugs.

The police might check any equipment for fingerprints, especially if you are saying that you are not involved in the production of a drug.

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Wonder What Happens To Drugs Seized By The Police Tnm Explains

All state governments are ordered to dispose of drugs seized in any case after the evidence is recorded.

The Bengaluru police on Thursday seized over a ton of marijuana, which was stored in an underground space at a goat farm in Kalaburagi. When large amounts of drugs are seized, one of the questions that arises is: How do the police dispose of these drugs?

Until 2018, the Bengaluru police were burning drugs in an open space near the respective police stations after obtaining a court order. However, burning huge amounts of narcotic drugs is against the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Keeping this in mind, the police finally formed a committee which contains Karnataka State Pollution Control Board officials and the Deputy Commissioner of Police as the nodal officer to oversee environment-friendly disposal of narcotic drugs.

Possession With Intent To Supply A Controlled Drug

The amount of drugs you have in your possession might suggest to the police and prosecution that you are intending to supply them to someone else. However, the amount on its own is not normally enough evidence and the police will always look at what else is found with the drugs, or at your home. If other things that are regularly involved in the supply of drugs are also found, this may suggest that you have the intention to sell or supply drugs. These items can include scales, individual deal bags, cling film, lists of customers, text messages indicating transactions, and cash.

The police might also check anything that the drugs are wrapped in for fingerprints especially if you are saying that the drugs dont belong to you.

Even if caught with a small quantity of drugs statements given by you can be used in evidence for example, if you say to the police you were holding a ecstasy pill for a friend this could be used to establish intention to supply.

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Forfeiture: Civil And Criminal

Forfeiture can be civil or criminal. In criminal forfeiture, the defendant is first convicted of a crime that allows for forfeiture, such as drug trafficking or money laundering. Then, if the prosecutor can prove that the defendant’s property was earned from or used in illegal activity, the government seizes that property.

For more information on forfeiture in federal criminal cases, see Forfeiting Property in a Federal Criminal Case.

In civil forfeiture, the owner does not need to be convicted of a crime. Civil forfeiture laws allow law enforcement officers to seize property that they suspect is connected to criminal activity. Then, it’s up to the owner to show that the property has no connection to any crime.

For example, in 2007, Roderick Daniels was driving through East Texas when police stopped him for going two miles per hour over the speed limit. Daniels was on his way to purchase a car and was carrying $8,500 in cash. Police accused him of money laundering and successfully seized the money. There was no other evidence of criminal activity, and Daniels was never formally charged with a crime.

What Happens To Seized Drugs

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Have you ever wondered what law enforcement officers do with seized drugs? If TV crime dramas and police procedurals are to be believed, law officers seem to spend a lot of time planning and executing drug busts. But what happens to the contraband they seize after it all goes down? It depends a lot on the amount and type of drugs, the circumstances surrounding the possession and seizure, and what state and federal laws govern the next steps.

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Police And Drug Money

As law enforcement budgets across the country are cut back, federal and state officers are using forfeiture laws and turning to a controversial tactic referred to as churning or policing for profits.

It happens on a daily basis: law enforcement officials pull a vehicle over after a minor traffic violation, such as failure to signal or speeding. The officer then asks the driver if he has any drugs or contraband in the vehicle and asks to perform a search. If the driver does not consent, the officer will allege that the driver is acting suspicious, and will often request a K9 unit and/or perform a search of the vehicle, claiming one of the several exceptions to the warrant requirement. If contraband is found, the vehicle, and any money found inside, can be seized. The money then becomes property of the government agency and is often used to fund their operations.

Sobriety checkpoints are also being used as a pretext to stop and search motorists for cash and contraband. Recently, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, signs were placed on a roadway warning drivers of a drug checkpoint. Although no such checkpoint was actually set up, officers would look for anyone pulling off the road to avoid the checkpoint, thus giving officers an excuse to search the vehicle. If law enforcement improperly seizes an individuals money, it can be a lengthy and expensive process through the courts to get it back.

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