The ins and outs of drug money

When law enforcement makes a drug bust, they often find items like guns and cash in the same area.

In our Facebook story of the day, you wanted to know where confiscated drug money goes.

Law enforcement officers don't just sit on seized money they take from drug stings. They follow state or federal asset forfeiture law.

Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals says "the local agencies and the state agencies work together. The money is taken that way and it is put into a state forfeiture account. The federal account is when you work in cooperation with the federal end."

On the state end it could take some time before local agencies see a dent in their accounts.

Major Bill Berry from the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit says "its a six month period on the state side from the time it seized we have 20 days to file a notice on it. The courts will then set up a hearing and then they have a thirty day appeal and awards are made."

Once the money is turned over to local agencies, they can use it to be more efficient at their jobs.

"We buy various things throughout the year like equipment, computers, and surveillance equipment."

The Lee County Sherriff's Office has bought new uniforms and vehicles. They even have funds to buy materials for drug education in local schools. But using the asset forfeiture process comes with some restrictions.

"We cant use it for salaries, benefits. There are restrictions on donations but anything in the operations portion we can use it for," Berry.

But taking drug money off the streets does have its benefits.

"I think it's a great benefit. The biggest part of it is taking that load off of the tax payers," said Rachals.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off