Police seized fewer items from criminals last yearby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Authorities in Minnesota seized fewer items involved in criminal activities in 2008 than the previous year, according to the Criminal Forfeiture Report released Thursday.
In all, 225 law enforcement agencies -- eight more than in 2007 -- reported a total of 3,823 incidents of property seized because of forfeiture last year. That's a decline of 1,108 forfeitures, or 22.5 percent, from 2007, according to the report released by State Auditor Rebecca Otto.
The report provides information on the cash and property seized subject to forfeiture. Forfeitures are considered complete in the year in which a final decision is rendered on the seized property, regardless of the date the property is initially seized.
At that time, items are sold, retained for law enforcement purposes, destroyed, forwarded to other law enforcement agencies or returned to the owner.
Other highlights from the report include:
- Sale of the forfeited property or seized cash totaled $3.8 million in 2008, down 21.4 percent from the $4.9 million reported in 2007, officials said.
- Cash accounted for 55 percent of all the property seized, followed by vehicles at 26 percent, firearms at 18 percent and other property at 1 percent.
- Criminal activity involving a controlled substance accounted for 3,136, or 82 percent, of the 3,823 forfeiture incidents reported in 2008.
- In addition to the 225 agencies that completed forfeitures last year, 180 agencies reported that they had no forfeitures, and 95 did not file reports with the State Auditor.
The Minneapolis Police Department accounted for most of the forfeiture incidents, followed by the Minnesota State Patrol, the Southeast Minnesota Drug Task Force, the Dakota County Drug Task Force and the Anoka-Hennepin Drug Task Force.
State law mandates that 70 percent of the cash or net proceeds from the sale of forfeited property are distributed to the appropriate law enforcement agency, 20 percent to the county attorney or other prosecuting agency that handled the forfeiture, and 10 percent to be forwarded within 60 days after resolution of the forfeiture to the Treasury Division of Minnesota Management and Budget.