Countywide : $2 Million in Drug Loot Given Agencies
The Internal Revenue Service handed over more than $2 million Wednesday to Orange County law enforcement agencies as their share of money confiscated during two major drug operations last year.
The $2,085,705.50 “was the biggest check I’d ever received,” Fullerton Police Chief Philip A. Goehring said. He accepted the money on behalf of the Orange County Regional Narcotics Suppression Program, which seized the money in cooperation with the IRS and other enforcement agencies last year.
Under federal law, money confiscated from drug traffickers can be turned over to government agencies that enforce drug laws.
In the two cases last year, police took the money from drug suspects who either denied the money was theirs or claimed they didn’t know where it came from. The money went to the Internal Revenue Service, lead agency in the case. The various police agencies divided the money based on the extent to which they participated in the bust.
During Wednesday’s ceremony at the county Hall of Administration, U.S. Sen. John Seymour presented Orange County’s share to Goehring, bringing to more than $6 million this year the money that the IRS has given to the county’s joint narcotics program. The IRS has doled out more than $25 million in seized drug money to Southland law enforcement agencies in the last two years, IRS spokeswoman Judith Golden said.
In one of the cases, which occurred June 7, 1990, Orange County drug agents followed a suspected drug trafficker as he stopped to make several telephone calls and later met with another man, Goehring said. Police moved in and searched the two cars.
In the trunk of one, police found a brown suitcase containing $996,520. The trunk of the other car contained a black suitcase holding $963,335. A drug-sniffing dog led police to believe that the money had recently been in contact with drugs, the chief said. Both men denied having anything to do with the money, Goehring added.
Orange County police netted $1,567,884 from that bust, according to Seymour aide Jennifer Kemp.
The $2 million will be further divided among county police agencies, based on how many officers they contributed to the joint drug enforcement team, Goehring said.