Could The Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force Exist Without Asset Forfeiture?

A 2012 financial report by the firm of Bucher, Essner and Miles and delivered to the office of Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich found that the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force was seriously dependent on forfeiture proceeds:

“The Task Force is reliant on funding from local governmental units participating in the agency in conjunction with federal grant monies applied for each year. In addition, the Task Force is entitled by current federal regulations to receive a portion of any money seized or proceeds from the sale of property seized by it during the course of an investigation or arrest. Changes in the laws concerning cooperative sharing of seized property, availability of federal funds or the economy in the area surrounding the governmental units could have an adverse effect on the task force. 
The audit reports $10,000 in "State Seizure" proceeds, and $188,326.99 in "Seizure Proceeds" (federal forfeiture proceeds disbursed under the Equitable Sharing program (see page 37)). Incidentally, on page 29 you can see that the "Original Budget" for Revenues included a projection that the SEMO DTF expected to receive $100,000 in federal seizure proceeds in 2012, indicating that the SEMO Drug Task Force exceeded their budgetary projection by $88,326.99 that year.
On page 26, there is the interesting description of the "Restricted Fund":

"restricted balance of $923,944.40 represents unexpended federal forfeitures that are limited to the following permissible uses; activities to enhance future investigations, law enforcement training, law enforcement equipment and operations, detention facilities, law enforcement facilities and equipment, drug education and awareness programs, pro rata funding and asset accounting and tracking."

Many thanks to Aaron Malin, who received this audit report through a Sunshine Law request and is working with AFR and the American Victory Coalition to further research the modalities of drug law enforcement in Missouri, particularly with respect to asset forfeiture and marijuana law reform.



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