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Report: Criminal Forfeitures Netted State Agencies Nearly $7M Last Year

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Law enforcement agencies pocketed nearly $7 million from criminal forfeitures last year, according to a new report released by state officials on Tuesday.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto put out the report, which lists and summarizes forfeiture incidents by reporting agencies.

Under Minnesota law, property associated with designated crimes can be forfeited to the state after a conviction. This is not to be confused with civil forfeiture, a process that allows the state to take property allegedly connected with a crime.

The report says that the total number of criminal forfeitures in 2014 was 6,874, which is slightly lower than the number of forfeitures reported in 2013 (6,955). The drop in forfeitures happened despite the fact that seven more agencies reported forfeitures last year.

Nearly 5,000 of last year's forfeitures involved seized cash, property that was sold, or monetary compensation for law enforcement agencies, the report said. These produced a net gain of $6,880,633 for state agencies, with the average forfeiture netting $1,446.

Cars accounted for 58 percent of the property seized, followed by cash (28 percent), guns (13 percent) and other property (1 percent).

The State Patrol completed nearly 1,000 forfeitures last year, the report says. The next two agencies with the most completed forfeitures (the Department of Natural Resources and the Minneapolis Police Department) didn't complete 500 forfeitures combined.

On the other hand, five of the state's drug task forces completed more than 100 forfeitures each.

The report said that 91 percent of last year's criminal forfeitures were related to crimes involving drugs and DUIs.

To see the full report, click here.

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