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Asset Forfeiture

  • By: Thomas E. Baker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

The concept of asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize assets connected with perpetrating a crime and liquidate the assets to be used toward something positive, such as employing additional personnel to help deter drug dealers. Prior to asset forfeiture laws, criminals would serve relatively short sentences, and after release from prison, they would continue to enjoy their illegal fortunes. For example, after serving a sentence in federal prison, Al Capone was able to return to living in his mansion in Florida. A more recent example is Pablo Escobar, the notorious cocaine trafficker, who served a jail sentence while living on a mountaintop estate in Colombia. While serving his sentence, he operated, supervised, and financed his criminal cartel, even arranging killings while living in seclusion ...

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