Federal Probe into National Bal Harbour, Fl., Police Forfeitures


For Bal Harbour. Fl., police, it was a whirlwind: cops jetting to Las Vegas, Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles with the goal of seizing millions from criminals, reports the Miami Herald. In just one month, the village's police helped reel in $3 million and by the end of the year, they took more dollars from drug dealers than any police force in Florida. While small police departments rarely venture beyond their borders, Bal Harbour's force has become a massive cash generator, infiltrating drug organizations across the U.S.

Armed with a team of snitches and undercover cops, the vice unit makes few arrests, but seizes a fortune in cash every year. Now, the special unit is under federal investigation for its handling of millions in seized dollars, including hundreds of thousands paid to snitches, questionable expenses, and missing financial records. In a rare move, agents have frozen millions that Bal Harbour helped confiscate under a program that allows police to seize the riches of criminals and keep a cut of the proceeds. The village has been forced to turn over reams of records in a grueling audit under review by U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors. Bal Harbour Police Chief Thomas Hunker said his unit has never broken the law.

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