Updated: 06/04/2014 2:16 PM
Created: 06/04/2014 1:32 PM KSTP.com
By: Heidi Enninga
The State Auditor’s Office reported that in 2013, net proceeds reached nearly $7 million in about 7,000 incidents of criminal forfeiture of cash and property by law enforcement agencies across Minnesota.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto released the Criminal Forfeitures Report on Wednesday, which details the cash and property forfeiture in driving under the influence, game and fish violations, off-road vehicle violations, gambling and racketeering as directed by state law.
In 1971, the legislature authorized law enforcement agencies making arrests to seize designated property associated with the crime, and since then, lawmakers have expanded the scope of information reported to the auditor and expanding the range of forfeitures.
At final disposition, law enforcement agencies can sell the forfeited items, retain them for law enforcement purposes, destroy them, forward them to other law enforcement agencies, or return them to the owner.
The 2013 report shows that 4,919 of the 6,955 incidents involved seized cash, property that was sold, or an agreement that required monetary compensation to the agency, which resulted in net proceeds of $6,925,472 in the incidents reported by 314 agencies.
Fifty-eight percent of property seized was vehicles, 28 percent was cash, 13 percent was firearms, and other property was 2 percent.
Criminal forfeiture incidents increased slightly since 2012, with 104 more incidents reported in 2013.
Ten agencies reported 100 or more forfeitures including the Minnesota State Patrol (1,007), the Minneapolis Police Department (311), Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division (217), the Dakota County Drug Task Force (210), the St. Paul Police Department (192), the Southeast Minnesota Drug Task Force (169), the Hennepin county Violent Offender’s Task Force (163) the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office (137), the Rochester Police Department (126) and the Bloomington Police Department (108).
In 2013, DNR incidents decreased by 170 and St. Paul Police Department incidents decreased by 498.
Four more agencies reported forfeitures in 2013 than in 2012, and 110 agencies reported none. Fifty-three agencies did not file a report.
The 2013 report only includes the items that went through final disposition in 2013, so it doesn’t include all of the property seizure and forfeiture activity for the entire year.
The full report includes types of crime, type of property seized, net proceeds and disposition of property for each incident in each reporting agency across the state.