On Monday, at the National District Attorneys Association conference in Minneapolis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ will increase the use of asset forfeiture, a controversial tool that allows law enforcement to seize cash, and property, even without proof of guilt, or those who have yet to be charged with a crime.
“We hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture—especially for drug traffickers,” Sessions said in a speech to a gathering of district attorneys in Minneapolis, according to his prepared remarks. “With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate, as is sharing with our partners.”
The Justice department’s asset forfeiture program has collected $28B, including $3.2B the DEA confiscated from individuals who were never charged with a crime, the Justice Department’s inspector general found earlier this year.
Sessions also said that state and local law enforcement could expect changes from U.S. Attorneys in several areas including increased prosecution of gun crimes, immigration offenses, gang activity, and prescription drug abuse, as well as increased asset seizure by the federal government.