Seizures By Police Help Fund Drug War 

Seizures By Police Help Fund Drug War 
Posted by FoM on July 05, 2001 at 08:50:35 PT
By Alex Branch, The Wichita Eagle 
Source: Wichita Eagle 
Going after drug dealers isn't just a dangerous job for Wichita police, it's also expensive. Going after drug dealers isn't just a dangerous job for Wichita police, it's also expensive.So not only are authorities sending busted dealers to jail, they're also using dealers' money and property to fund efforts to catch other dealers. The department's narcotics seizure fund has grown from about $60,000 more than 10 years ago to about $800,000, even reaching $1 million occasionally, according to the Wichita Police Department.
And it's turned into an invaluable resource in taking the costly burden of new equipment off taxpayers and putting it onto the criminals, police said."It's an excellent tool," said Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz. "It's a big part of what we use to get better resources for our officers." It's been seven years since state laws were altered to give authorities more freedom to pursue forfeitures, said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Hudson, who handles most forfeiture cases for Sedgwick County.The laws were designed to deter crime by depriving criminals of the profits of their illegal activities.But authorities have also found them to be an excellent source of funding.The Sedgwick County district attorney has settled as many as 15 forfeiture cases this year and has three times that many pending, said spokeswoman Jeanette Clary. Some seizure cases -- often involving larger amounts of money -- are handled through the U.S. Attorney's office.Although the law allows for the seizure of certain property that is proven to facilitate, convey or result from a drug activity, about 99 percent of the forfeiture cases involve money or cars, Hudson said.It can be difficult to prove a connection to other property, she said.Cars are commonly seized because proving their connection to a drug transaction isn't difficult, said police Capt. Mike Bruce. If a police officer discovers a significant amount of drugs in a car during a traffic stop, he said, that car could be seized.Occasionally, cars are even traded for drugs, he said.If the car is in reasonably good shape, and the forfeiture is legal , the car often joins the department's undercover fleet, he said.Once the cars wear out, or if they're in bad shape in the first place, they are auctioned off and that money is put back into the seizure fund.Auctioning has become more common as drug dealers are apparently wising up to the risk of selling drugs out of nice or expensive cars, Bruce said."It seems like they've gotten smarter and don't want to risk getting a good car seized," he said. "They're using older cars that have more problems." Obviously, not a lot of money comes from the auctioning of cars, Bruce said. Seized cash makes up the bulk of the forfeiture asset fund.That cash can come from Wichita police busts or joint busts involving other jurisdictions.For example, when Wichita police officers working with the local Drug Enforcement Administration make a bust, the department could receive a portion of forfeitures. The Sedgwick County district attorney also receives a cut for proving the case in court.While every forfeiture case doesn't involve large amounts of cash, police sometimes stumble into big money.Last year, officers responded to a reported domestic dispute and found about $250,000 in a container at the residence. A drug dog sniffed out the money because there were drug traces on it.The forfeiture case was eventually settled for $175,000, Hudson said. "That was one of the bigger cases," she said.Often the money is used to buy safety equipment for officers, such as new bulletproof vests, high-risk-entry shields and other safety equipment. Stolz said that while the money is valuable to the department, it wouldn't necessarily be bad news if the amount starts to dwindle.Some people view the amount of money seized as indicator of the city's drug trade, he said."If the number of busts slows down, then you could say that we're effectively controlling the buying and selling of drugs," he said. "So, in a way, that could be good news." Contact Alex Branch at: abranch wichitaeagle.comSource: Wichita Eagle (KS)Author: Alex Branch, The Wichita Eagle Published: Thursday, July 5, 2001 Copyright: 2001 The Wichita EagleContact: weedit wichitaeagle.comWebsite: Articles - Forfeiture
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Comment #8 posted by scooter on July 30, 2001 at 09:41:49 PT:
DOJ responsible for law assisted home invasions
Karen Dillion you are incredable. The story really touched us, as we are living the nightmare of asset forfieture and the corruption surrounding the tactics police often resort to. We appreciated the insight and relationship between the DOJ and the local authorities. I have evidence and information concerning this that you will find unbelievable but quite valuable from a literary standpoint. Thank You Wade Wallacewww.thelordsfairy 
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Comment #7 posted by scooter on July 29, 2001 at 18:37:34 PT:
law assisted home invasions
I am a Bend, Oregon resident who is tickled about(measure 3)You see, I have had all of my assets seized by corrupt police officers based on a 1998 charge. The good news is I have never been convicted of a crime and have evidence of how police for years have violated our civil rights. They have lied on search warrants and performed supposed random "Knock and Talk " searches. It was thier main goal to perform home invasion searches and steal from people. People need to understand the extent of the police corruption relating to asset forfeiture, specifically in in-door marijuana cases. It is a victimless, non-violent crime, yet corrupt police officeres figured out a way to get rich by illegally monitoring phone calls to indoor lighting supply companies nationwide. In other words, every light shop in America could be an unwitting informant. I am going to make a difference and expose these people and try to help those who have experienced this first hand or those who are just a "kicked in" door away from living my nightmare.
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on July 06, 2001 at 07:56:18 PT:
Obviously, another clueless "journalist"
In order to increase his reportorial edge - which he seems to desperately need, as he has practically written a press release for the police department's PR office - I'm sending these same links to Mr. Branch. Perhaps after you peruse it yourself, you might want to do the same? Along with your own choice comments?POLICING FOR PROFIT: THE DRUG WAR'S HIDDEN ECONOMIC AGENDA CASH INTO CUSTODY
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Comment #5 posted by lookinside on July 05, 2001 at 17:44:34 PT:
personal opinion...
ever try to get a cop to respond to someone invading yourhome? the flies would be gathering before they pullup...they want the bad guys GONE before they put theirprecious skins on the line...i'm surprised the police haven't started selling the drugsthey confiscate...that would increase income quitealot...and then they can bust anyone who drives away in anewer car...hmmmm...i wish i'd seen this coming...i coulda become a copand stolen enough to retire by the time i was 30...but i wasalways precocious...not much of that going around in thepolice departments i've seen...color me cynical, angry and bitter..(but we are going to win...)
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Comment #4 posted by aocp on July 05, 2001 at 15:43:46 PT
Re: Doug
But authorities have also found them [asset forfeitures] to be an excellent source of funding.Thank goodness some in legislatures (with some prodding) are waking up. This is spooky stuff.
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Comment #3 posted by Pontifex on July 05, 2001 at 14:01:53 PT:
Yo ho ho, and a vial of crack
The paraphrased comments of Wichita privateer Tom "Bluebeard" Stolz:"Robbing people is expensive. Breaking down doors and shooting unarmed civilians is expensive. Therefore we need to keep the loot in order to fund more burglaries.""If the number of busts slows down, then you could say that we're effectively controlling the buying and selling of drugs," said Stolz, stroking a suitcase of $20 bills in his newly seized Ford Explorer. "Or you could say that we're letting some dealers slide in exchange for a little hush money. Or you could say the dealers have gotten one step ahead of us while we celebrate our booty at the inn. Ha ha, just kidding! No seriously, that's off the record.""Arrrhh, matey," added Stolz as he sipped from a bottle of Kahlua Rum & Coke.
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Comment #2 posted by sm247 on July 05, 2001 at 10:33:29 PT
Stop the war ... Save our childrens future.
What about the families involved and the children ??Yuo have no regards at all for respect of them or their property. Then you wonder why they grow up with no respect for the law or other peoples property either...Gee I bet they think "well if they are gonna take my stuff I might as well take mine too.... so they go out and steal from other people." 
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Comment #1 posted by Doug on July 05, 2001 at 09:41:42 PT
Welcome to the Future
Yet another indication that we live in a science-fictional world - self-financing police. As the police become less dependant on the taxes paid by the good citizens that they are supposedly protecting, they become more a force that are controlled by no one. The police have a great incentive to raise as much money as they can by forfeiture, so the amount of property they can collect helps determine who they bust. Who would  you rather go after, a mellow middle class pot grower who is unarmed, or a property-poor armed meth maker?And here again I don't know which is scarier, the fact that the police are perfroming forfeitures, most of which are without convictions, or the fact that most people think this is okay behavior, it's just a way of saving on the taxes we pay for protection. Fortuantely, there has been some backlash -- I live in a state that passed a strong measure last year limiting forfeiture to some extent. But you can imagine the howls of protest from the police as this came up. They even tried to defeat it through the courts after it passed.
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