Department of Justice Wants Police Department To Return $4 Million
The U.S. Department of Justice has sent a letter to the small town village police department of Bal Harbour, Florida asking for a return of $4 million in drug forfeiture money the department has gathered over several years.
Bal Harbour leads a task force with the Glades County Sheriff's office, according the the Miami Herald and seized $56 million from 2008 to 2011 in drug forfeitures "without adequate written policies or procedures, prosecutorial oversight or audits of undercover bank accounts," according to the Department of Justice.
The small town police department is now facing allegations of questionable expenses including hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to confidential informants from the forfeiture money.
The Department of Justice wants the return of $3.1 million the police collected in cash and property from drug busts, as well as $709,836 spent improperly on salaries and benefits. The department allegedly spent money on 1st class airfare and luxury car rentals as well as salaries for Southern California police officers supposedly managing confidential informants.
The DOJ has sanctioned the department from participating further in the federal drug forfeiture program whereby police departments get a cut of forfeited property and cash seized from drug dealers.
Police Chief Thomas Hunker heads the Bal Harbour Police department, well known for it's speed traps in the small east coast town north of Miami.