Chief Deputy Sheriff Eddie Ingram of Barbour County, Al., is a devout believer in highway traffic stops, reports National Public Radio. His theory is that criminals are mobile. They’re moving between crimes, they’re carrying contraband, and they’re bound to slip up. When drivers are stopped for moving violations, they shouldn’t be treated simply as speeders – they should be regarded as possible felons. Ingram’s officers have discovered more than $11 million in drug assets in the past 15 years. Much like the rules for treasure hunters, police agencies that make a seizure can keep up to 80 percent of it, and many police agencies have grown to rely on confiscated drug money.
The Barbour County Sheriff’s Office exemplifies the situation found in many law enforcement agencies, particularly in the South: Many police agencies have grown dependent on confiscated drug money – an outcome specifically discouraged by state and federal laws. Seized assets are supposed to be only a supplement.