Never thought that police officers or other government agents could seize your property and claim it for themselves without you even being convicted of a crime? Until very recently, this was a common practice between local law enforcement, including here in Michigan, and the U.S. Justice Department. In Michigan alone, police have collected more than $72 million from suspects -- again, not convicts -- since 2008.
The program allowing this system to function is called the Equitable Sharing Program. When a state or local law enforcement agency seizes assets officers suspect of being connected to a crime, often illegal drugs, they will send it to the Justice Department. The local police then request that the feds forfeit the suspect’s rights to the property.