Recovered Money

What is done with recovered money from drug busts, etc…
is it destroyed?

First the person has to be convicted. If they’re not convicted, at least ostensibly, it’s supposed to be returned to the person.

If convicted, then the goods are sold, the case and sales proceeds go to the government (locally, I believe the drug squad itself benefits, I’m sure there’s some sort of formula where some goes to the state coffers etc.)

It can be very big business. A guy I went to High School with was busted for very big time importing (he’s doing 40+ in the federal pen), when they went in to his house, they got several million dollars in cash and slot machines, as well as race cars (reportedly raced cars with Paul Newman), homes etc. (that was in addition to the cash)

The tough thing about civil asset forfeiture is that it is a civil action taken against the property and if you, the owner, don’t have the resources to pursue recovery, you’re SOL. In the past part of what was required was the posting of a bond equal in value to the confiscated property. I believe it was Rep. Hyde who got some reforms passed last year in regard to this situation. I’m not fully acquainted with how his reforms affected the situation. Nevertheless, a conviction was not required for one to forfeit their property, and much confiscated property is kept without conviction, or sometimes, without criminal charges ever being filed.

Police agencies are typically not anxious to return what becomes theirs if the owner cannot mount the legal battle required to recover the property. It’s a “self-funding” thing for the agencies.

Forfeiture Endangers American Rights will give you some background.