In an article that I posted earlier today, Arlette Lee, a spokeswoman for the IRS, “said that the U.S. Marshals Service is also involved in the operation” referring to the raid at Oaksterdam and properties owned by cannabis activist Richard Lee. I was talking to my friend Jim in Oregon and he pointed out that U.S. Marshals usually come in for the reason below. If you are in the Bay Area, get out and get active to let them know that we will not stand for this BS! It would cry if I saw some of Richard Lee’s stuff on the U.S. Marshal website.
The Marshals Service administers the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Program by managing and disposing of properties seized and forfeited by federal law enforcement agencies and U.S. attorneys nationwide. The program has become a key part of the federal government’s efforts to combat major criminal activities.
There are three goals of the Asset Forfeiture Program: enforcing the law; improving law enforcement cooperation; and enhancing law enforcement through revenue. Asset forfeiture is a law enforcement success story, and the Marshals Service plays a vital role.
In 1984, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which gave federal prosecutors new forfeiture provisions to combat crime. Also created by this legislation was the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF). The proceeds from the sale of forfeited assets such as real property, vehicles, businesses, financial instruments, vessels, aircraft and jewelry are deposited into the AFF and are subsequently used to further law enforcement initiatives.
Moreover, under the Equitable Sharing Program, the proceeds from sales are often shared with the state and local enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation which led to the seizure of the assets. This important program enhances law enforcement cooperation between state/local agencies and federal agencies.
The asset forfeiture community consists of: The Marshals Service; U.S. Attorney’s Offices; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Department of Homeland Security, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
It is important to note that the Marshals Service participates with the U.S. Attorneys Offices and the investigative agencies in pre-seizure planning – the first critical step to ensuring that sound, well-informed forfeiture decisions are made.
The role of the Marshals Service is to not only serve as custodian of seized and forfeited property but also to provide information and assist prosecutors in making informed decisions about property that is targeted for forfeiture. The Marshals Service manages and disposes of all assets seized for forfeiture by utilizing successful procedures employed by the private sector. The Marshals Service contracts with qualified vendors who minimize the amount of time an asset remains in inventory and maximize the net return to the government.