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Follow-up Audit of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Handling of Cash Seizures
Glenn A. Fine (ed)
To ensure that criminal organizations and individuals do not benefitfrom their illegal acts, federal law provides that profits from drug-related crimes, including cash, are subject to forfeiture to the government. In addition to the Drug Enforcement Admin. (DEA), state and local law enforcement agencies also seize cash during their drug enforcement operations. These state and local agencies may transfer seized cash to the DEA for processing through the Dept. of Justice’s (DOJ) Asset Forfeiture Program (AFP). In Jan. 2007, the DOJ Office of the Inspector Gen. (OIG) completed an audit of the DEA’s controls over cash seized directly by the DEA and cash transferred to the DEA through the AFP. The audit found that while the DEA had established policies for safeguarding seized cash, it needed to strengthen some of those controls. For ex, the OIG concluded that the DEA needed to: (1) better define when the seizing agents or officers should count seized cash, (2) define a timeframe for taking seized cash to a bank to minimize the time the DEA holds seized cash, and (3) speed the transfer of seized cash to the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) by mandating the use of wire transfers where possible. In Nov. 2008, the OIG initiated this follow-up audit of the DEA’s handling of seized cash to determine what actions the DEA took in response to the 2007 audit and whether those actions improved the DEA’s handling of seized cash. During the period Aug. 1, 2007, through Nov. 24, 2008, the DEA processed almost $522 million in seized cash. Figures.
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