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Federal drug law allows the government to seize property.

Date: 1970


The Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention Act of 1970 gives the federal government the power to seize property used in or obtained by means of drug crimes and to keep the proceeds of such seizures, thereby creating a powerful incentive for cash-strapped local and state law enforcement agencies.

When the government takes ownership of this seized property, it is called “forfeiture.” Property can be seized under forfeiture laws even when the property owner is not themself accused of drug trafficking.