DEA Criticized for Mishandling Seized Funds
This comes as no surprise to me and other criminal defense lawyers representing those charged with drug crimes, but it's good to see it made public.
In an audit published Friday, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine examined thousands of seizures between October 2003 and November 2005.
Fine's report states that drug agents rarely counted the cash they took, often didn't provide receipts for seized money, rarely recorded the seizures in agency ledgers and often didn't ask their colleagues to witness their counting and handling of the money.
What this means according to the Inspector General:
The lack of internal controls over the seized cash leads to accusations of theft by the agents, the report states.
What it means in my opinion: Sometimes less money is reported seized than actually is seized. Because of the faulty reporting, and because some may be less than honest about the amount seized, it's very hard to prove.
Also, sometimes the money isn't related to or the product of a drug deal. Just because it's cash doesn't mean it was acquired unlawfully.
That cash is often needed to feed children or make car and house payments. A lot of people suffer when agents don't follow the rules.
Just another reason why forfeited funds shouldn't go to the seizing agency.
|< Blood For Oil? | Not-So-Free Speech >|