Drug-related crimes may involve possession of a small amount of methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin, or other drugs for primarily personal use. Other drug-related criminal activity may be part of sophisticated criminal organizations, involving the manufacture, distribution, and sale of drugs across international borders and cities through the U.S. before being sold on the street. These criminal organizations use various methods of distribution in earning significant profits and accumulating personal property such as boats, cars, and other vehicles. Federal and state forfeiture laws allow prosecutors to seize property and assets obtained through criminal behavior. Property and assets seized through criminal forfeiture proceedings can be sold or appropriated for use by law enforcement agencies.

For your first post, identify two arguments in support of forfeiture programs. Next, identify the property or items that you believe can be lawfully forfeited as items associated with or obtained in connection with Mary’s illegal drug activity. What factors should be considered in deciding what property is connected to Mary’s drug activity? Should forfeiture programs for drug-related assets be limited, eliminated, expanded?

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For your discussion post this week, conduct research to learn more about the arguments in support of and against seizure and forfeiture of assets and property associated with drug crimes. Next, review the scenario below:

After several months of investigation, police in San Diego, California, obtained and executed a search warrant for Sally Johnson’s home and attached garage, based on evidence that Sally was involved in a sophisticated heroin trafficking operation within the state of California. According to the investigation, Sally would pick up pre-packaged heroin in San Diego, California, which she would then transport and deliver to dealers in various cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento.

During the search of Sally’s home, officers found and seized a shoe-box full of pre-packaged baggies of heroin for resale at street level, $50,000 in cash, three laptop computers, three cell phones, two Rolex watches, and a pair of diamond earrings. Investigators also observed a 1960 vintage Corvette convertible parked in the garage and a luxury motorhome parked in the driveway.

Sally is twenty-five years old and is currently employed as a cashier at a convenience store.

Sally is charged and convicted of possession of heroin with intent to distribute under California law. The prosecutor has filed forfeiture proceedings, seeking forfeiture of various items of Sally’s property connected with her drug-related activity.

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