Nearly $1.2 Million In Forfeited Drug Proceeds Distributed To State And Local Law Enforcement In Connecticut In 2006
JAN 19 -- June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and John F. Bardelli, United States Marshal for the District of Connecticut, today announced that $1,185,822.75 in forfeited drug funds were distributed to a total of 33 state and local law enforcement agencies and departments during the 2006 calendar year. The distributed monies come from assets that were derived from, or were used to facilitate, drug trafficking activities. In addition, several hundred thousand dollars in seized funds have been deposited into the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund for use by several Department of Justice law enforcement agencies.
Forfeited funds are transferred to local, state and federal law enforcement through the Department of Justice’s “Equitable Sharing Program,” which is administered by the United States Marshals Service. Each agency that participates in the program is required to use the funds for law enforcement purposes.
“It is always gratifying to turn something negative into a positive, and the Department of Justice is pleased to transfer these forfeited funds to nearly three dozen departments and agencies where they will be put to good use,” U.S. Attorney O’Connor stated. “Drug dealers beware: If you are caught, you may not only lose your freedom, but you risk losing your property, as well.”
The Department of Justice asset forfeiture program has three primary goals: To punish and deter criminal activity by depriving criminals of property used or acquired through illegal activities, to enhance cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement, and to produce revenues to enhance forfeitures and strengthen law enforcement.
“This money was removed from drug organizations that have been dismantled, bankrupted and now liquidated,” DEA SAC Stansbury said. “The assets they accumulated from pushing death and despair by trafficking in drugs now fuel operations against others who choose the same illegal path. Our law enforcement partners are to be commended for promoting a winning strategy by using these shared funds to help finance the fight against drugs.”
U.S. Attorney O’Connor detailed one specific matter that resulted in the distribution of more than $105,000 to the New Milford Police Department. In February 2004, New Milford Police received a tip that Joseph Hinckley of 11 Mulberry Lane in had been growing and selling marijuana in the New Milford area for several years. After an investigation by New Milford Police and DEA that included surveillance and controlled purchases of marijuana with law enforcement funds, it was determined Hinckley used his residence as a base of operation for the delivery and sale of marijuana to a group of regular customers. On December 2, 2004, law enforcement executed a search warrant at 11 Mulberry Lane that resulted in the discovery of marijuana at the property. Hinckley was arrested at that time, and subsequently was convicted on state drug charges.
Shortly after Hinckley’s arrest, the U.S. Attorney’s Office began federal civil forfeiture proceedings against Hinckley’s property on 11 Mulberry Lane. In June 2006, Hinckley agreed to pay $152,000 in order to settle the forfeiture action. Through the Department of Justice’s Equitable Sharing Program, $105,563.22 was distributed to the New Milford Police Department.
“I want to thank the New Milford Police, and all of the state and local agencies that have assisted our Office, the DEA and other federal law enforcement agencies in investigating drug trafficking activity,” U.S. Attorney O’Connor continued. “I’m sure these funds will help them to continue their great work. I also want to acknowledge the United States Marshals Service for their tireless, behind-the-scenes work in administering this very important law enforcement program.”
“There is nothing more satisfying for the U.S. Marshals Service than to provide additional resources to the law enforcement agencies of Connecticut in their ongoing battle against illegal drug distribution,” stated U.S. Marshal Bardelli. “This is an effort in which we all do what we can to eliminate the awful consequences of illicit drug use.”
The Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program is designed to enhance cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement through the sharing of proceeds resulting from federal forfeiture. State and local law enforcement agencies receive equitable sharing revenues by participating with federal law enforcement in joint investigations that lead to the forfeiture of property. The amount that is shared with state and local law enforcement is usually based on each agency’s level of participation in the case. Many of the state and local law enforcement agencies received funds based on their participation on DEA Task Forces.
The $1,185,822.75 in forfeited drug proceeds were distributed as follows: