The vast majority of people who have had cash seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency weren’t convicted of doing anything wrong.
In a report released on March 29, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General found that, since 2007, the DEA seized $3.2 billion in cash from people who weren’t charged with any crime. With the total cash seized in that time totaling just over $4 billion, that means 81% of the money seized came from people with no charge at all.
Civil asset forfeiture allows the DEA to seize cash, real estate, cars or even personal items from people suspected of dealing drugs or engaging in organized crime.
But the DOJ report found that out of the 100 cases it looked at randomly, 56% of the time “there was no discernible connection between the seizure and the advancement of law enforcement efforts.”
Such a report “raises serious concerns that maybe [the] real purpose here is not to fight crime, but to seize and forfeit property,” Darpana Sheth, a senior attorney for the Institute of Justice, told the Washington Post.
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Featured image courtesy of AP.