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Inspector General: DEA Seizes Money without Ties to Criminal Investigations

Drugs and cash seized in Portland.

Drugs and cash seized in Portland.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is seizing massive amounts of cash from people who are not connected to a criminal investigation, according to a scathing report by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

In the 74-page report released Wednesday, the inspector general cautioned that the DEA may be violating the civil liberties of people whose is seized, the Washington Post reports.

The inspector general concluded the DEA was unable to demonstrate how asset forfeiture practices benefit criminal investigations.

The Post cites one example:

The DEA took more than $70,000 from a piece of checked luggage without doing any more investigation or attempting to question the owner at the airport — instead simply putting a receipt in the bag and sending it on to its final destination.

“Even accepting that the circumstances surrounding the discovery of this large volume of concealed currency justified law enforcement suspicion and seizure, we find it troubling that the DEA would make an administrative forfeiture without attempting to advance an investigation, especially considering that the DEA had opportunities to contact the potential owners of the currency instead of simply providing written notice of the seizure,” the inspector general wrote.


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