INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration issued the following press release:
Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Susan W. Brooks, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana announced that $5,253,373 in forfeited drug funds were distributed to a total of 99 state and local enforcement agencies and departments during the past five calendar years, 2002-2006. The distributed monies came from assets that were derived from, or were used to facilitate, drug trafficking activities.
"Seizing money and assets is a powerful tool in combating illegal drug trafficking," stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz, the Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division DEA, which covers the state of Indiana. "We will continue to work with the United States Attorney's Office to forfeit illegal drug proceeds and provide the funds to our partners at the state and local levels of law enforcement, where it helps the community."
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.
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, stated and local law enforcement; and to produce revenues to enhance forfeitures and strengthen law enforcement. An example of such cooperation occurred during July, 2005, when the DEA, Indiana State Police, and Indianapolis Police Department dismantled a major cocaine trafficking organization based in Indianapolis, Indiana and Mexico. That investigation culminated with 20 arrests, the seizure of 45 kilograms of cocaine, and over $500,000 in cash and assets.
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.