Drugs, Firearms, Currency, and Other Property Seized by Law Enforcement Agencies:

Too Much Held Too Long

GGD-76-105: Published: May 31, 1977. Publicly Released: May 31, 1977.

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The disposition of property seized by Federal law enforcement officers in carrying out their work was questioned.

Drugs are often held for several years as possible court evidence. This, along with the manner in which drugs are stored and accounted for, greatly increases the chances for loss. Currency also held as evidence would earn interest savings if it were returned to owners or the U.S. Treasury instead of being stored in vaults. Vehicles forfeited to the Government are either used by the seizing agency or sold, but slow forfeiture processes resulted in depreciation and vandalism of vehicles. Sales methods varied, resulting in duplication of effort and use of employees for duties other than those for which they were hired. Seized firearms and explosives present difficulties in disposal.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: To dispose of seized property the Attorney General should: (1) direct that, for seized narcotics, a sample should be used as evidence and the bulk of the seizure destroyed after examination by counsel; (2) establish procedures to use serial numbers and photocopies of seized money for evidence; (3) improve administrative procedures to allow for more timely disposition of seized weapons; and (4) direct that law enforcement agencies be promptly advised of case closings. Drug and narcotics evidence handling and accounting practices should be strengthened. Congress should enact legislation to increase the number of seized vehicles that could be forfeited administratively.

    Agency Affected:


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