What Should You Seize?
When any law enforcement agency becomes involved in a narcotics investigation that involves illegal goods or property purchased from the profits of illegal activity, knowing what you legally should seize is critical. KRS 218A.410 is clear about the types of property that should be taken and held until the case’s adjudication.
Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron notes, however, the knowledge about what to seize is just as critical as proper maintenance and record of the property.
“The main thing is that assets seized during drug investigations need to be treated like any other piece of evidence until the case is resolved,” he said. “They should be maintained and accounted for just as any other piece of evidence in any type of prosecution.”
218A.410 Property subject to forfeiture.
(1) The following are subject to forfeiture:
(a) Controlled substances listed in Schedule I that are possessed, transferred, sold, or offered for sale in violation of this chapter are contraband and shall be seized and summarily forfeited to the state;
(b) Controlled substances listed in Schedule I, which are seized or come into the possession of the state, the owners of which are unknown, are contraband and shall be summarily forfeited to the state;
(c) Species of plants from which controlled substances in Schedules I and II may be derived which have been planted or cultivated in violation of this chapter, or of which the owners or cultivators are unknown, or which are wild growths, may be seized and summarily destroyed or forfeited to the state. The failure, upon demand by the law enforcement agency or its authorized agent, of the person in occupancy or in control of land or premises upon which the species of plants are growing or being stored, to produce an appropriate registration, or proof that he or she is the holder thereof, constitutes authority for the seizure and forfeiture of the plants;
(d) All substances, machinery, or devices used for the manufacture, packaging, repackaging, or marking, and books, papers, and records, and all vehicles owned and used by the seller or distributor for the manufacture, distribution, sale, or transfer of substances in violation of KRS 218A.350 shall be seized and forfeited to the state. Substances manufactured, held, or distributed in violation of KRS 218A.350 shall be deemed contraband;
(e) All controlled substances which have been manufactured, distributed, dispensed, possessed, being held, or acquired in violation of this chapter;
(f) All raw materials, products, and equipment of any kind which are used, or intended for use, in manufacturing, compounding, processing, delivering, importing, or exporting any controlled substance in violation of this chapter;
(g) All property which is used, or intended for use, as a container for property described in paragraph (e) or (f) of this subsection;
(h) All conveyances, including aircraft, vehicles, or vessels, which are used, or intended for use, to transport, or in any manner to facilitate the transportation, for the purpose of sale or receipt of property described in paragraph (e) or (f) of this subsection, but:
1. No conveyance used by any person as a common carrier in the transaction of business as a common carrier is subject to forfeiture under this section unless it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the owner or other person in charge of the conveyance is a consenting party or privy to a violation of this chapter;
2. No conveyance is subject to forfeiture under this section by reason of any act or omission established by the owner thereof to have been committed or omitted without his or her knowledge or consent;
3. A forfeiture of a conveyance encumbered by a bona fide security interest is subject to the interest of the secured party if he or she neither had knowledge of nor consented to the act or omission; and
4. The forfeiture provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any misdemeanor offense relating to marijuana or salvia;
(i) All books, records, and research products and materials, including formulas, microfilm, tapes, and data which are used, or intended for use, in violation of this chapter;
(j) Everything of value furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled substance in violation of this chapter, all proceeds, including real and personal property, traceable to the exchange, and all moneys, negotiable instruments, and securities used, or intended to be used, to facilitate any violation of this chapter; except that no property shall be forfeited under this paragraph, to the extent of the interest of an owner, by reason of any act or omission established by him or her to have been committed or omitted without his or her knowledge or consent. It shall be a rebuttable presumption that all moneys, coin, and currency found in close proximity to controlled substances, to drug manufacturing or distributing paraphernalia, or to records of the importation, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances, are presumed to be forfeitable under this paragraph. The burden of proof shall be upon claimants of personal property to rebut this presumption by clear and convincing evidence. The burden of proof shall be upon the law enforcement agency to prove by clear and convincing evidence that real property is forfeitable under this paragraph; and
(k) All real property, including any right, title, and interest in the whole of any lot or tract of land and any appurtenances or improvements, which is used or intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, a violation of this chapter excluding any misdemeanor offense relating to marijuana, synthetic drugs, or salvia, except that property shall be forfeited under this paragraph, to the extent of an interest of an owner, by reason of any act or omission established by the Commonwealth to have been committed or omitted with the knowledge or consent of the owner.
(2) Title to all property, including all interests in the property, forfeit under this section vests in the Commonwealth on the commission of the act or omission giving rise to forfeiture under this section together with the proceeds of the property after the time. Any property or proceeds subsequently transferred to any person shall be subject to forfeiture and thereafter shall be ordered forfeited, unless the transferee establishes in the forfeiture proceeding that he or she is a subsequent bona fide purchaser for value without actual or constructive notice of the act or omission giving rise to the forfeiture.
(3) If any of the property described in this section cannot be located; has been transferred to, sold to, or deposited with a third party; has been placed beyond the jurisdiction of the court; has been substantially diminished in value by any act or omission of the defendant; or, has been commingled with any property which cannot be divided without difficulty, the court shall order the forfeiture of any other property of the defendant up to the value of any property subject to forfeiture under this section.