Law Enforcement Shares the Wealth in War on Drugs 

Law Enforcement Shares the Wealth in War on Drugs 
Posted by FoM on October 10, 2001 at 21:35:07 PT
By Brooke A. Masters, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
Washington area police and sheriffs departments received nearly $2.2 million last year from cars, houses, cash and other assets seized from drug traffickers, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.Joint federal-local task forces assembled by the DEA's Washington Division made 491 seizures from drug dealers in the District, and from counties and cities surrounding Washington, in the fiscal year that ended last month.
The seized assets were sold, and 80 percent of the proceeds were passed to the local police and sheriffs departments, said Supervisory Special Agent Michael Turner. The DEA keeps the rest to cover costs of administering the program."The checks are a result of your hard work," said R.C. Gamble, the division's special agent in charge, at a reception held for seven departments receiving money.There are 166 state and local law enforcement officers working on task forces with the DEA's Washington Division, which covers Virginia, Maryland, the District and West Virginia, Gamble said. Proceeds are shared according to each jurisdiction's participation in the joint task forces."It's not about the money," he said. "It's about the collaborative effort."Asset forfeiture became part of DEA's arsenal under a 1979 law. By 1991, the federal government was seizing $700 million worth of assets annually from arrested drug dealers. The program was criticized at the time because some seized assets were only tangentially related to the drug trade. Legal safeguards were added later to place more limits on whose property could be seized.Asa Hutchinson, sworn in as DEA administrator in August, demonstrated his interest in the asset forfeiture program by personally distributing checks at the reception in the District last week."This is a great opportunity to tell you how much the DEA appreciates your contributions," said the former Arkansas congressman. "Think about all that money going into the coffers of local law enforcement. But it's coming from the drug traffickers, and it hits them hard. We know how great a tool this is in our arsenal."For jurisdictions such as Loudoun County, the money "helps us buy equipment that we probably couldn't get from the budget," Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson said. He cited surveillance and communications equipment for undercover work and a major-incidents vehicle that can act as a mobile command center.Loudoun received nearly $40,000, according to the DEA.Prince George's police Maj. Clint Lindsay, who heads the narcotics division, said the county doesn't rely on asset forfeiture money for ongoing costs because it is difficult to predict how much will be received each year.Officers do keep track of seized assets, but the department does not receive the revenue immediately. A case can sometimes take several years to move through the court system.Prince George's, which received $654,000 last year, recently used some of its asset forfeiture funds to buy a Barringer ion scanner, which can determine whether cash has been in the presence of cocaine or other illegal drugs, Lindsay said.Virginia State Police officials said the financial aspect of the asset forfeiture program is secondary for them; they received $250,536 last year."We like it as an investigative tool to put the drug dealers out of business," said Lt. Col. Darrell Stillwell, director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.Note: DEA Distributes $2.2 Million From Traffickers' Assets for Collaborative Efforts. Source: Washington Post (DC) Author: Brooke A. Masters, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Thursday, October 11, 2001; Page VA04 Copyright: 2001 Washington Post Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Articles:CannabisNews DEA Archives Administrator Testifies on Taliban and Drugs
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Comment #11 posted by kaptinemo on October 12, 2001 at 08:22:33 PT:
The cold breath of tyranny on our necks
will now be felt at your local pharmacy and bulk warehouse store. Have a really bad sinus condition? Need a major amount of Sudafed or Drixoral to counteract it? Beware the Pill Police!In an effort to deny meth makers access to the basic components of their wares, the Poh-Leece are leaning on shopkeepers to do the "Know Your Customer" bit:LAWMEN ASK FOR MERCHANTS' HELP"Things like matches in bulk, pseudoepherine, large amounts of brake cleaners, iodine, acetone, Red Devil lye and bulk containers of Coleman fuel are tip-offs," Potter said. "If merchants make a conscious effort to limit these sales, we can make some progress." and Potter said the easiest avenue is if merchants voluntarily limit their sales of meth component items. "They need to be more concerned about the community than money," Potter said.(Need I point out the obvious? Need I? Okay, Officer-paid-with-forfeiture-funds Potter, we hear you loud and clear.) The task force is asking merchants to report suspicious sale of the aforementioned meth-making materials to authorities. (Emphasis mine -k.) They also say by posting signs at store counters, warning customers suspicious purchases may be reported, that customers, purchasing the ingredients for illegal actions, may be less likely to try to purchase the materials. Anyone having information on illegal drug activity may report their suspicions to any of the local law enforcement agencies or the DA's office at 473-9572.Now, what if I, an engineer and occasional shade-tree mechanic, need a s**t-load of brake fluid? (Ever try to bleed and restore a brake system - by yourself? It ain't easy, sportsfans, lemme tell ya. And despite your best efforts, some always winds up being lost...and only a crazy man or DrugWarrior would try to used 'recycled' fluid.) Now, if I decide to go to my favorite bulk warehouse store to get several jugs of the stuff, will the dull-eyed drone at the checkout counter report me for 'suspicious behavior'?Bet they don't pull this kind of stunt at Canadian Tire; I'm beginning to miss Toronto more and more...
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Comment #10 posted by bruce42 on October 11, 2001 at 12:49:59 PT
tongue in cheek, but nonetheless, why the hell do they need that gadget? As kaptinemo pointed out, we and they already know a good portion of the cash in the states has trace amounts of drugs in it. I really see no other reason for the machine but dasterdly doings. 
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Comment #9 posted by krutch on October 11, 2001 at 12:40:11 PT:
Barringer ion scanner
$654,000 is a ridiculious amount of money to spend on this device. Cash is passed from person to person, and a large proportion of US money contains drug residues. Finding drug residue on a defendant's money means nothing.Bruce42's comments seems to be tongue and cheek, but I think he makes a good point. Why does the Prince George's police force need such an expensive toy? One must speculate that they are doing something illegal.
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on October 11, 2001 at 11:58:18 PT:
Heeeere we go, agaaaaain!
So, they have a nice little toy that will tell them that the money they steal has cocaine residue on it? And that, of course, justifies their keeping it?Ah-hem, gentlemen...evidently your minds are stuck in the 1980's:Cocaine contamination of United States paper currency 
by Oyler J; Darwin WD; Cone EJ
Addiction Research Center, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA. 
J Anal Toxicol, 1996 Jul, 20:4, 213-6 as Evidence the article:Money Contaminated with DrugsA study conducted by the Department of Energys Laboratory concluded that 78% of the one-dollar bills in suburban Chicago are contaminated with cocaine. However, the study concluded that while cocaine becomes imbedded in the fibers of the currency, it does not rub off easily onto the fingers of the people who handle the money. In the study done with the Houston Advanced Research Center, some 278 bills were collected from 12 different locations in Chicago's western suburbs and at one location in Wisconsin. Bills were collected from schools, banks and restaurants. The bills were then categorized by wear, and tested to determine the levels of cocaine. The bills with the heaviest wear had the highest levels of cocaine, up to 1.04 milligrams. A scanning electron microscope reveled crystals of cocaine beneath the cross-fibers of the currency. Studies have shown that cocaine in this minute amount will not transfer to skin by casual handling. But money that has visual cocaine on the bill can transfer depending on the amount of handling. As with any drugs, contaminated money should be handled with gloves and a mask if necessary.Cocaine tainted money: the article:One of the studies that has proved most damaging to prosecutors was done by Sanford A. Angelos, a forensic chemist with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's North Central Laboratory in Chicago. The study concluded that a third of the samples taken from several Chicago banks and from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago had traces of cocaine. The test results were reported in an undated internal DEA memo and first surfaced publicly in a trial in Los Angeles three years ago. More important, Mr. Angelos said in the memo, the belts of the bill sorter at the reserve bank continued to spread the contamination to more and more cash. Mr. Angelos recommended, among other things, that "trace analysis or seizure be stopped."
 The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati also raised questions about the use of cocaine-tainted cash as evidence in a decision in January involving the seizure of $53,082. The court cited, among other studies, a test conducted four years ago by Lee Hearn, chief toxicologist for the Dade County medical examiner's office in Miami. In a study of currency from banks in cities around the country, Mr. Hearn concluded that 97% of the bills tested positive for cocaine.This is like bringing a police drug-sniffing dog into any shop, anywhere, anytime, letting the dog sniff the money, and the cop taking the cash tray out of it because the money is contaminated. Which is precisely what they are hoping for. 
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Comment #7 posted by bruce42 on October 11, 2001 at 07:16:43 PT
"Prince George's, which received $654,000 last year, recently used some of its asset forfeiture funds to buy a Barringer ion scanner, which can determine whether cash has been in the presence of cocaine or other illegal drugs, Lindsay said."This way they can ensure their laundered drug money is squeaky clean.
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Comment #6 posted by bruce42 on October 11, 2001 at 07:13:21 PT
Did I just read that right? He is shutting down ALL of that?
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Comment #5 posted by Rambler on October 11, 2001 at 02:20:54 PT
Howz this grab ya?
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Comment #4 posted by dddd on October 11, 2001 at 02:06:49 PT
Good One FreedomFighter!
..>"I cannot wait for it to sail thru the white house where bush who cannot read sign his name on that bill. "....that's good!.......That ol' boy bush,,is an embearassmunt two thuh hole cuntree.........I'm serious ..... ..,,It is embarassing to be a citizen,when,,,when an illiterate,,illegitimatly select,,pResident occupies the pinnacle of world power!....think it over;  ----- -______ in the first place,,is it not rather questionable that a former presidents kid,,,,who has questionable intentions,,,should end up in the oval office??,,,,, I mean,,,hello?... ding-dong....."anyone home?"......the lights are dim,,,,,,,,and somebody's home!...........anyway,,,,,,,,if I ever won the lotto,,,,and was able to form the Goat Party,(or as Lookinside suggested , The Ram party),,,,,I would see if I could hire FreedomFighter to be my Press Secretary.......JAH Shine on You Freedom Fighter.........dddd
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Comment #3 posted by freedom fighter on October 11, 2001 at 01:17:21 PT
Your postings has put chilly goose bumps in my spine. If it pass, America will no longer sing God Bless America. It's more like God have mercy on Americans. I cannot wait for it to sail thru the white house where bush who cannot read sign his name on that bill. ff
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Comment #2 posted by dddd on October 10, 2001 at 23:43:50 PT
in case you missed it
Key points of legislation now being considered on Capitol Hill]      1. An entire 501C3 organization or other organization, including its members, can have their assets seized for supporting "bodily
      acts" or international causes that the U.S. Secretary of State may deem terrorist activity. Political activities that were legal prior
      to S.1510 may retroactively be deemed terrorist activity by the government. Participants and supporters may be charged with
      terrorist and other offenses, under this bill as now drafted. [This is a bill of attainder specifically outlawed by the Constitution]      (2). S1510 retroactively abolishes the "statue of limitations" for many past offenses in which no one was injured. After passage of
      S.1510, any past offense that can be broadly alleged to have put someone "at risk" may be used by federal and state prosecutors
      to charge a citizen with a terrorist act - even 30 years after the statute of limitations period had already passed. Government will
      have no difficulty manufacturing evidence to prosecute citizens once constitutional safeguards against passing retroactive laws
      are abolished.      (3) No "innocent owner defense" will be allowed against asset forfeiture. After passage of S1510, government agencies will be
      able to seize assets of citizens and organizations without ever disclosing the evidence. Government need only allege that
      disclosing such evidence may compromise national security and/or an ongoing investigation. S1510 provides for paying
      "unnamed informants" huge rewards resulting from arrests and forfeited assets.      dddd 
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on October 10, 2001 at 23:26:39 PT
Follow the money, like you did in Watergate!
Now how much of these money gets funneled back into political lobbying to keep these tough laws on drugs in place? Are we naive enough to believe that none of it does?"We like it as an investigative tool to put the drug dealers out of business," said Lt. Col. Darrell Stillwell, director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.But if they want to keep collecting money from this nifty asset forfeiture funding system --- then it essentially means that they CAN'T EVER AFFORD TO PUT THE DRUG DEALERS OUT OF BUSINESS.Elliott Ness would have understood this. Darrell Stillwell I see is not of that Untouchable breed. Obviously today everyone is just too corrupted by this money to admit to themselves that it means the police have made themselves dependent on the proceeds from crime and hence have an inherent conflict of interest in their profession.So they want to arrest a drug dealer. Do they arrest him when he is just starting out and only has one leased car and rents a house? Or do they sit and watch and let him expand until he has sufficient liquid assets like boats and homes and cars so that the takedown shows a net profit for the department?And why waste valuable department time chasing down serial killers and rapists when the bottom line is so poor compared to the drug (enforcement) business?These are elementary questions. Amazing that the Post does not see fit to pose these questions to Hutchinson. It's not the Watergate Post, that's for sure.
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