Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

The other week, there was a young man from Washington state caught with lots of money in his vehicle passing through our area. There have also been drug busts in the area. I understand that the vehicles, etc., are all confiscated and sold. My question is: What happens to the money? I’m hoping it all goes into some worthwhile fund and used for the betterment of the communities.

Kathryn Peterson

West Fargo

Thanks for writing! I contacted both the Highway Patrol and the Fargo Police Department for this question. Here’s what Fargo Sgt. Mat Sanders told me:

“Money intended for the purchase of illegal controlled substances or received from the sale of illegal controlled substances is forfeitable under North Dakota law. Vehicles used to transport illegal controlled substances are also forfeitable.

“The money/vehicle is seized and retained until a district court judgment orders it forfeited or returned to the owner. If it is forfeited, the cash and money received from the sale of vehicles are shared by the law enforcement agencies involved in the case and the prosecutor’s office.

“The Fargo Police Department uses these funds to aid future narcotics cases and to purchase police equipment.”

Here’s what Lt. Jody Skogen of the Highway Patrol told me:

“North Dakota Century Code 39-03-18 spells out how forfeitures may be used. The text is as follows:

39-03-18. Highway patrol – Assets forfeiture fund – Purpose – Continuing appropriation. There is created a fund to be known as the highway patrol assets forfeiture fund. The fund consists of funds obtained from moneys, assets and proceeds seized and forfeited pursuant to section 19-03.1-36, amounts received through court proceedings as restitution and amounts remaining from the forfeiture of property after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.

The total amount of deposits into the fund may not exceed three hundred thousand dollars within a biennium and any moneys in excess of that amount must be deposited in the general fund.

The funds are appropriated as a continuing appropriation to the highway patrol for the following purposes:

1. For paying expenses necessary to inventory, safeguard, maintain, advertise or sell property seized, detained or forfeited pursuant to section 19-03.1-36, or of any other necessary expenses incident to the seizure, detention or forfeiture of the property.

2. For paying overtime compensation incurred as a result of investigations or violations of any state criminal law or law relating to the control of drug abuse.

3. For purchasing equipment related to criminal interdiction.

4. For paying matching funds required as a condition for receipt of funds from a federal government program awarding monetary grants or assistance for the investigation or apprehension of persons violating the provisions of chapter 19-03.1.

The superintendent of the highway patrol, with the concurrence of the director of the office of management and budget, shall establish the necessary accounting procedures for the use of the fund and shall personally approve, in writing, all requests for the use of the fund.

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, N.D. 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

One thought on “Today’s Ask Your Government

  1. Dear Teri,

    I am being considered for a job in Jamestown. I will travel to the area in a few weeks. Do you happen to have a e-mail address where I could correspond with you and ask you some questions about the town and that part of the State? I’ve been reading your blog the past 2 weeks after I discovered it online and have already learned a lot. I thought it might be easier for us both if I could write you directly for your comments and views. Many thanks for your consideration.

    Tim Parrish
    515-A Greenwood Avenue
    Clarksville, TN 37040

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