Minnesota law enforcement officials reported that there were 6,338 cases of vehicle, cash, or property forfeiture in 2011.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto said the total increased from 2010, when there were 4,604 forfeitures. She said the spike in forfeiture was likely related to mandated changes in the forfeiture process.
The change in forfeiture procedures resulted from a 2009 scandal involving the Metro Gang Strike Force, which is no longer in operation. The new law requires officers to begin categorizing forfeitures, and also allows law enforcement to seize the vehicles of those individuals charged with drunken driving.
In addition, law enforcement officials can seize vehicles and other property in connection with a variety of crimes, including drug use or possession.
Drunken driving-related incidents accounted for the largest amount of forfeited vehicles in 2011. There were 2,785 such seizures, which accounted for 44 percent. There were also 3,189 instances of vehicle, cash, or property forfeiture resulting from the discovery of a controlled substance.
Although there was an increase from last year, Otto said next year’s results will provide a clearer insight as similar forfeiture standards will be in place.
“Next year we will be able to compare back to this year,” said Otto.
Related source: Star-Tribune