oversight

Drugs, Firearms, Currency, and Other Property Seized by Law Enforcement Agencies: Too Much Held Too Long

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-05-31.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                         DOCUMENT RESUME

02548 - [A1712702]

Drugs, Firearms, Currency, and Other Property Seized by Law
Enforcement Agencies: Too Much Held Too Long. GGD-76-105;
B-175425. May 31, 1977. 41 pp. + 4 appendices (16 pp.).

Report to the Congress; by Elmer B. Staats, Comptroller General.

Issue Area: Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention: Police
     Efforts, Capabilities and Images (501).
Contact: General Government Div.
Budget Function: Law Enforcement and Justice: Federal Law
     Enfcrcement and Prosecution (751).
 )rganizavicn Concerned: Department of Justice; Department of the
     Treasury; General Services Administration; Drug Enforcement
     Administration; United States Customs Service; Bureau of
     Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Congressional Relevance: House Committee on the Judiciary;
     Senate Committee on the Judiciary; Congress.
Authority: Contraband Sei:ure Act (49 U.SC. 781 et seq.).
     Tarift Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1202 et seq.). Comprehensive
     D.-ug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, title I1;
     Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 801). Currency
     and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act (31 U.S.C. 1102). Gun
     Control Act of 1968, titles I, II. 18 n.S.C. 545. 26 U.S.C.
     7302.

          The disposition of property seized by Federal law
enforcement officers in carrying out their wcrk was questioned.
Findings/Conclusions: Drugs are often held for several years as
possible court evidence. This, along with the manner in which
drugs are stored and accounted for, greatly increases the
chances for loss. Currency, also held as evidence, would earn
interest savings if it were returned to owners or the U.S.
Treasury instead of being stored in vaults. Vehicles forfeited
to the Government are either used by the seizing agency or sold,
but slow forfeiture processes resulted in depreciation and
vandalism of vehicles. Sales methods varied, resulting in
duplication of effort and use of employees for duties other than
those for which they were hired. Seized firearms and explosives
present difficulties in disposal. Recommendations: To dispose
of seized property the Attorney General should: (1) direct that
for seized narcotics, a sample should be used as evidence and
the bulk of the seizure destroyed after examination by counsel;
(2) establish procedures to use serial numbers and photocopies
of seized money for evidence; (3) improve administrative
procedures to allow for more timely disposition of seized
weapons, and (4) direct that low enforcement agencies be
prr,mptly advised of case closings. Drug and narcotics evidence
handling and accounting practices should be strengthened.
Congress should enact legislation to increase the number of
seized vehicles that could be forfeited administratively.
 (Author/HT#)
co                 REPORT TO THE CONGRESS
It'


                   BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL
      ,'f   ':,    OF THE UNITED STATES




                  Drugs, Firearms, Currency,
                  And Other Property Seized
                  By Law Enforcement Agencies:
                  Too Much Held Too Long
                  Department of Justice
                  Department of the Treasury
                  General Services Administration

                  Federal law enforcement officers seize large
                  amounts of property in carrying out their
                  work. Problems--loss of illicit drugs, loss of
                  interest on currency, deterioration of seized
                  vehicles, and accumulation of firearms--seem
                  to have a common cause: too much is held
                  too long.
                  GAO recommends several practices to hasten
                  the disposal of drugs, firearms, currency, and
                  other seized property including the increased
                  use of evidence substitutions and samples.




                  GGD-76-105                                       MAY 31, 1977
                COMPTROLLEft GENERAL OF THE IINITED TATE
                           WAOHINGTON. D.C.   MiU&




B-175425




To the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives

     Federal law enforcement agencies seize large quantities
of contraband and other property in carrying out their respon-
sibilities. We questioned whether this property is stored
and disposed of safely and effectively.
     This report discusses the problems Federal law enforce-
ment agencies have in handling seized drugs, firearms, cur-
rency, and vehicles and contains our recommendations for
improvement.

     Our review was made pursuant to the Budget and Accounting
Act, 192i (31 U.S.C. 53), and the Accounting and Auditing Act
of 1950 '31 U.S.C. 67).

     We are sending copies of this report today to .he Director,
Office of Management and Budget- the Secretary of the Treasury;
the Attorney General; and the Administrator of General Services.




                                   Comptroller General
                                   of the United States
 COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S                  DRUGS, FIREARMS, CURRENCY,
 REPORT TO THE CONGRESS                 AND OTHER PROPERTY SEIZED
                                        BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES:
                                        TOO MUCH HELD TOO LONG

              DIGEST
              Federal law enforcement officers seize large
              quantities of property--about 1,000 pounds
              of heroin and over 1,000,000 pounds of
              marihuana in fiscal year 1976 and about
              7,900 weapons in fiscal year 1975--in carry-
              ing out their work. This property is often
              held a long time, either as evidence or wait-
              ing to be forfeited to the Government. Prob-
              lems--such as loss, deterioration, or accumu-
              lation of property--seem to have a common
              cause:  too much is held too long.
              DRUGS

              Entire drug seizures are often held several
              years as possible court evidence. This,
              along with the manner in which drugs are
              stored and accounted for, greatly increases
              the chances for loss.  (See ch. 2.)
              The Attorney General should direct the U.S.
              attorneys and law enforcement agencies to
              use samples of the seized drugs as evidence
              when permitted by the courts. Most seized
              drugs could then be destroyed.
              For drugs that are held as evidence, the
              Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S.
              Customs Service should:
              -- Periodically take independent inventories
                 to verify drug existence in the vaults.

              -- Use adequate storage facilities that meet
                 security standards.

              -- Use a proper follow-up system so evidence
                 related to closed cases can be destroyed.
              --Monitor regional offices to see they com-
                ply with procedures for handling evi-
                dence.  (See ch. 6.)



IrSml.      UponrmNova. thrport                        GGD-77-105
cover dao should beI notd hnor      i
CURRENCY

Large amounts of currency seized from alleged
violators or recovered funds previously used
by Feceral agents to purchase evidence are
held by agencies as evidence.   Instead of
storing this money in vaults and safe deposit
boxes, it should be returned to the U.S.
Treasury or the rightful owner.   This would
result in interest savings to the public
and the Government.  (See ch. 3.)

If the ownership  f seized currency is in
doubt, the money c uld be depoZlted in the
U.S. Treasury until it is determined.  Lists
of serial numbers or photocopies should be
used as evidence.

VEHICLES

Vehicles forfeited to the Government are
either used by the seizing agency or sold.
In fiscal year 1975 about 2,000 vehicles,
including aircraft and ships, were for-
feited to the Drug Enforcement Administra-
tion; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and
Fi:earms; and the U.S. Customs Service.
(See ch. 4.)

These agencies'

-- slow forfeiture processes, and custody
   problems resulted in depreciation, dete-
   rioration, and vandalism of automobiles
   and aircraft and

--sales methods varied, resulting in
  duplication of effort and use of erm-
  ployees for duties other than those
  for which they were hired.

Seizing agencies need to improve their
administrative practices so vehicles
can be promptly forfeited.  Also, the
Department of the Treasury and the Gen-
eral Services Administration should con-
sider having the General Services Admin-
istration sell all vehicles not used by
Treasury agencies.

The Congress should raise the limit of
administrative forfeitures so agencies

                      ii
            can quickly process them and relieve
            U.S. District Court workloads.  (See
            p. 37.)  Now, vehicles valued cver $2,500
            must be forfeited through the court sys-
            tem which usually takes longer.

            FIREARMS

            Law enforcement agencies should find a
            faster way to dispose of seized weapons.
            Weapons are being held and some are de-
            stroyed er a quired by agencies without
            authority to do so.  Agencies have

            -- difficulties in determining ways to
               dispose of firearms;

            --difficulties with Bureau of Alcohol,
              Tobacco, and Firearms procedures; and

            -- limited communication with U.S. attorneys
               on the status of cases.  (See p. 34.)

            EXPLOSIVES

            Explosives seized by the Bureau of Alcohol,
            Tobacco, and Firearms either for forfeiture
            or as evidence are difficult to store and
            create dangerous conditions.   Small samples
            with photographs and eyewitness testimony
            could be used as evidence.   All other seized
            illegal explosives could be promptly for-
            feited to the Government and destroyed if
            proposed legislatior were passed.    (See pp.
            32 to 34.)

            AGENCY COMMENTS

            The Department of Justice generally agreed
            with GAO's recommendations and said the re-
            port pointed out problems associated with
            handling, storing, controlling, and for-
            feiting property seized by Federal law en-
            forcement agencies.   (See app. I.)  The
            Department of the Treasury, however, dis-
            agreed with several recommendaticrs, citing
            legal restrictions against implementing
            them.  (See app. II.)   The General Serv-
            ices Administration agreed with the recom-
            mendation on the transfer of forfeited
            vehicles to the General Service Adminis-
            tration for sale.   (See app. III.)
                                iii
TIau Shea
                        Contents
                                                      Page
DIGEST                                                  i
CHAPTER
   1       INTRODUCTION                                 i
               Extent of seizures                       1
               Legislative authority                    3
               Scope of review                          5
   2       OPPORTUNITIES TO PRDUCE THE POTENTIAL
             FOR SEIZED DRUG LOSSES                     6
               Large amounts of drugs seized            6
               Drugs stolen from Federal, State,
                 and local governmental facilities      8
               Need to reduce drugs in custody          9
               Storage facilities and recordkeeping
                 need to be improved                  12
               Conclusions                            17
   3       SEIZED CURRENCY COULD EARN INTEREST        18
               Interest could be earned               19
               Actual money not needed for evidence   20
               Conclusions                            21
   4       IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED IN SEIZED VEHICLE
             STORAGE, FORFEITURE, AND DISPOSITION
             PRACTICES                                22
               Custody and forfeiture problems        23
               Vehicle sales should be centralized    27
               Conclusions                            29
   5       SEIZURE AND CUSTODY PROBLEMS FOR
             FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES                  30
               Accumulation of firearms               30
               Firearms disposal                      31
               Seized explosive materials             32
               Conclusions                            34
   6       CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS            35
               Conclusions                            35
               Recommendations                        36
               Recommendation to the Congress         37
               Agency comments and our response       37
APPENDIX

   I       Letter dated February 8, 1977, from the
             Assistant Attorney General for
             Administration, Department of Justice    42
APPENDIX                                               Page

  II       Letter dated January 24, 1977, from the
             Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforce-
             ment, Department of the Treasury           48
 III       Letter dated October 28, 1976, from the
             Administrator, General Services
             Administration                             53

  IV       Principal officials responsible for
             activities discussed in tnis report        55

                         ABBREVIATIONS

ATF        Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
DEA        Druq Enforcement Administration
FBI        Federal Bureau of Investigation

GAO        General Accounting Office
GSP        General Services Administration
                          CHAPTER 1

                        INTRODUCTION

     Federal law enforcement agencies seize large quantities
of property in carrying out their duties. Seized property
includes

     -- contraband narcotics and drugs such as heroin aad
        cocaine;
     -- currency obtained illegally such as from bank robberies
        or the sale of contraband narcotics and drugs;

     -- vehicles such as automobiles, aircraft, or vessels used
        to transport contraband, such as ill   i.t narcotics or
        illegal firearms;
     -- firearms illegally possessed, used, or intended for use
        in the commission of Federal crimes; and

     -- illegal destructive devices and explosives.
     Some property is subject to U.S. Government forfeiture,
Forfeiture is the process through which the Government obtains
legal title either through an administrative determination by
the seizing agency or court proceedings. Contraband--such as
illicit drugs--is subject to immediate forfeiture because its
possession is illegal. Upon seizure, contraband becomes
Government property and is destroyed following any evidentiary
use it might have.
     This L=port discusses the seizure and forfeiture activi-
ties of the Drug Enforcement Admrinistration (DEA) of the De-
partment of Justice, and the U.S. Customs Seivice and Bureau
oc Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) of the Department of
Treasury relating to narcotics and dangerous drugs, currency,
vehicles, and firearms. Also discussed is the storage and
disposition of seized property by the U.S. Marshals Service
of the Department of Justice and the General Services Adminis-
tration (GSA).
EXTENT OF SEIZURES

     Seized contraband and personal property to be used as
evidence generally remain in the seizing Federal agency's
custody. At the time of the trial, the seized contraband
and property are usually held by the U.S. Marshal cr the
court clerk. When the trial ends, the court or the U.S.
attorney may determine the disposition of the evidence.
The U.S. Marshal may be designated to dispose of the prop-
erty, but generally it is the responsibility of the seizing
agency.

     Three Federal agencies seize most of the contraband,
vehicles, and firearms the Government confiscates. The
following is a brief description of the responsibilities of
each agency and the U.S. Marshals Service.

     -- DEA--established on July 1, 1973--enforces the con-
        trolled-substances law. It brings to the criminal
        justice system those organizations and pricipal mem-
        bers of organizations involved in the growing, manu-
        facturing, or distributing of controlled substances
        appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the
        United States. DEA also regulates the legal trade in
        narcotics and dangerous drugs. In fiscal year 1976
        DEA was appropriated $149.8 million.
     -- Customs collects duties and taxes on imported merchan-
        dise; inspects all international traffic; regulates
        certain marine and aircraft activities; combats smug-
        gling and frauds on the Customs revenue; and performs
        functions related to importing and exporting merchan-
        dise. Customs was appropriated $310 million in fiscal
        year 1976.
     -- ATF enforces the law designed to eliminate illicit
        activities and regulates lawful activities relating to
        distilled spirits, beer, wine, and nonbeverage prod-
        ucts, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. In fiscal
        year 1976 ATF was appropriated $106.8 million.
     --The U.S. Marshals Service has custody of all Federal
       offenders until released by the courts or confined in
       prison; acts as an agent of the court in the executing
       process; and provides protection services to the courts
       and key Government witnesses. The Service was appro-
       priated $56.7 million in fiscal year 1976.

     The following table shows DEA, Customs, and ATF drug
removals during fiscal year 1976 and vehicles, weapons, and
money seized during fiscal year 1975.




                            2
Drugs:                     DEA                 Customs            ATF
   Heroin (lbs.)            693                    264             0
   Cocaine (lbs.)           430                  1,030             0
   Marihuana/
     hashish (lbs.)     333,522                772,867             0
   Dangerous drugs
     (d.u.) (note a)        8.5 million           21.4 million     0
Vehicles:

   Automobiles            1,859                 10,839           321
   Aircraft                  23                    106             0
   Vessels                    8                    167             1
Weapons                     744                    536       6,625
Money              $3,104,335             b/$1,191,039   Not avail-
                                                           able
a/Dosage units are 10 milliqrams for DEA and 5 grains (about
  325 milligrams) fir Customs.

b/Represents seized money for fiscal year 1974; fiscal year
  1975 not available.

LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY

      Seizure and forfeiture authority for U.S. law enforce-
ment agencies started with the July 31, 1789, act in which
the Congress authorized Customs to seize merchandise to pro-
tect U.S. revenues. The Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1202
et. seq.) clarified that merchandise, contraband, and vehicles
are forfeited as a penalty to those who bypassed U.S. import
laws.

     The Congress stated its reasons for the vehicle seizure
authority now accorded Treasury officers under the Contraband
Seizure Act (49 U.S.C. 781 et. seq.) when it concluded that
vessels, vehicles, and aircraft were the operating tools of
criminals, and that seizure of vehicles transporting firearms.
narcotics, and counterfeit paraphernalia was necessary to in-
capacitate and penalize the offender.

     The major seizure and forfeiture authorities accorded
ATF, DEA, and Customs are:




                                 3
     -- Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention
        and Control Act of 1970, otherwise known as the
        Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 801),
        authorizes the Attorney General to seize contraband
        drugs and drug paraphernalia. It also authorizes the
        seizure and forfeiture of vehicles transporting contra-
        band drugs.
     -- The Criminal Code (18 U.S.C. 545) authorizes the for-
        feiture of contraband or merchandise attempted to be
        brought into the United States in violation of any law
        or regulation. The Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1595a)
        accords Customs the authority to seize and forfeit
        vehicles transporting such contraband or merchandise.

     -- The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act
        (31 U.S.C. 1102) authorizes Customs to seize and for-
        feit money entering or leaving the United States with-
        out the proper declaration.

     --Title I of the Gun Control Act of 1963 (18 U.S.C. 921,
       924 (d)) authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to
       seize and forfeit firedrms, ammunition, and explosive
       materials used or intended to be used in violation of
       that act or any other U.S. criminal law.

     -- Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968, otherwise
        known as the National Firearms Amendments Act of 1968
        (26 U.S.C. 5801-5872), authorizes the Secretary of the
        Treasury to seize and forfeit any firearm in violation
        of the act.

     -- The Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 7302) authorizes
        the Secretary of the Treasury to seize and forfeit
        property, including money, for Federal wagering law
        violations.
     -- The Contraband Seizure Act (49 U.S.C. 781 et. seq.)
        authorizes officers of the Secretary of the Treasury
        to seize and forfeit vessels, vehicles, and aircraft
        used to transport narcotic drugs, firearms, and
        other contraband.
     The Congress has considered extending the forfeiture
authority of DEA. Proposed antidrug legislation sent to the
Congress by former President Ford on April 30, 1976, entitled
"The Narcotic Sentencing and Seizure Act of 1976" and


                              4
introduced as H.R. 13577 and S. 3411 would have required the
forfeiture of cash or other personal property exchanged
for illegal drugs.
     Currently, law enforcement agencies not having authority
to forfeit a particular item will seize the item and turn it
over to the proper agency for forfeiture.  For example, DEA
cannot forfeit seized firearms but it turns them over to the
appropriate Federal or State authorities for forfeiture.  Law
enforcement agencies may seize any property as evidence in a
court proceeding.
SCOPE OF REVIEW
     We reviewed the laws and regulations authorizing Federal
agencies to seize and forfeit property. In.addition we
visited the following Federal law enforcement agencies:

     -- Headquarters offices of DEA, ATF, Customs, and the U.S.
        Marshals Service in Washington, D.C.
     -- Selected regional and district offices of DEA, Customs,
        and ATF in New York, California, and Arizona.
     -- U.S. Marshals Service offices in New York and Califor-
        nia.
     We also talked with GSA officials and the Chief Judges
of the U.S. Circuit Courts in Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago,
and New York about various aspects of seized property and
evidence-handling procedures. In addition, we contacted of-
fices of several U.S. attorneys in New York, California, and
Arizona.

     Our review did not include the Federal Bureau of Investi-
gation (FBI). The FBI is an investigatory agency and generally
seizes property for evidence and not forfeiture. 1/

     Through interviews with agency officials, observations of
seized property storage areas, and a review of pertinent docu-
ments and case files on seized property, we determined the
various procedures agencies used to process property seized
for evidence and forfeiture.


1/The Department of Justice comments on this report included
  detailed information on the FBI's procedures for handling
  seized currency.  (See pp. 43 and 44.)



                             5
                          CHAPTER 2

           OPPORTUNITIES TO REDUCE THF POTENTIAL
                   FOR SEIZED DRUG LOSSES

     Entire illicit drug seizures are often retained many
years as evidence, except for some large amounts of marihuana.
This greatly increases the potential for loss as the tempta-
tion to steal and sell drugs is great.
     Thefts at State and local agencies occasionally resulted
in large amounts of drugs being diverted to the illicit mar-
ket. Thefts and losses at Federal agencies have generally
been minor; however, the potential for significant losses
exists because of weaknesses in the method of storing and ac-
counting for drugs. To safeguard the evidence, minimize the
potential for significant thefts and losses, and reduce pos-
sible diversion to illicit channels, a system of rigid con-
trols covering storage, handling, and accountability, along
with a faster disposal of the drugs through the use of drug
samples for evidence, is necessary.
LARGE AMOUNTS OF DRUGS SEIZED
     The amount of marihuana seized and removed from the U.S.
market increased from 195,000 pounds in 1970 to 948,000 pounds
in calendar year 1975. Total cocaine seizures and purchases
more than doubled over the same period from 600 to 1,40u
pounds.  Seizures of other narcotics and dangerous drugs,
while not increasing as rapidly, have been large.
     The following charts show the change in the quantities cc
marihuana, cocaine, and heroin seized from 1968 to 1975.




                                6
IN POUNDS
 10""

 12N _.,-




  400




 loll
             1l6s         1es              1970        1971      1972      1973     1974   1975
                                DOMESTIC COCAINE REMOVALS BY FEDERAL AGENCIES
II POUNOS


1466

1200
1260




 460

 266


             1661         19S1         :970            1971      1972      1973     1974   1976
                                DOMESTIC          HEROIN REMOVALS BY FEDERAL AGENCIES
IN THOUSANDS OF PGOUNDS




 260



             1960         1N66         1970            1671      1372      167:!    174    1975
                           DOMESTIC MARIHUANA REMOVALS BY FEDkRAL AGENCIES
DRUGS STOLEN FROM FEDERALt STATE,
AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL FACILITIES

     In recent years, seized narcotics and dangerous drugs
have been stolen from Federal, State, and local law enforce-
ment agencies and diverted for illicit sale and use.

     --In 1973 the Baltimore City Police Department lost 1,202
       packets of heroin from storage.
     --Four to 5 pounds of cocaine were stolen in 1971 by a
       chemist from a Customs laboratory in Baltimore.

     --Approximately 800 pounds of marihuana were stolen in
       1974 by an agent from a DEA district office storage
       facility.
     -- About 169 pounds of heroin and 131 pounds of cocaine
        were stolen in 1972 from the New York City Police
        Department.

     -- One hundred pounds of marihuana were stolen in 1972 by
        military guard personnel from a Navy ammunition bunker
        in Florida which was used by Customs for storage.

     --In 1975 airport ground service employees stole 748
       grams of cocaine that were being sent by DEA to an
       assistant U.S. attorney as drug evidence. About 677
       grams were recovered.

     -- In 1972 a chemist was arrested shortly after stealing
        90 bags of heroin from a State laboratory in Connecti-
        cut.

     -- In 1975 a New Jersey State Police chemist was arrested
        for stealing a pound of cocaine.

     -- In 1974 a former laboratory employee was arrested for
        stealing an estimated $300,000 of heroin and cocaine
        from a Massachusetts laboratory.

     -- In 1974, 105 grams of suspected cocaine were stolen
        from , DEA laboratory in Texas and not recovered.

     There have also been instances where seized drugs could
not be located and were presumed lost or stolen. During a
1973 inventory, a New York Customs office could not locate



                              8
     -- 01.5 grams of morphine sulfate,

     --12 grams of crude opium,

     -- 884 grams of smoking opium, and
     --789 grams of cocaine hydrochloride.

     From July 1973 through 1975 DEA lost
     -- 16.23 grams of heroin (0.03 percent purity),

     -- 07.3 pounds of marihuana, and

     -- 0.69 grams of heroin.

     During the same period three incidents were reported
where State or court officials lost the following drug evi-
dence seized by DEA:
     -- 17 grams of amphetamine.
     -- 07.61 grams of cocaine.
NEED TO REDUCE DRUGS IN CUSTODY

     Since July 1, 1973, Customs has been required to turn
drug seizures over to DEA. However, Customs still maintains
custody of illicit drugs if they were seized before July
1973 or if DEA refuses custody. Except for large marihuana
seizures, DEA and Customs retain the entire drug seizure for
evidence until after final adjudication of the case. As a
result, seizures are being held for years. This increases
(1) handling and storage problems and (2) the potential for
theft or loss.

Samples of seized drugs
used as evidence
     For several years marihuana seized in California as evi-
dence for prosecution was sampled in varying amounts (most
recently 1 kilogram and 10 core samples) and the balance des-
troyed immediately.l/ To support the samples, photographs

1/ DEA initiated this practice because of difficulties en-
   countered along the southwest border in storing multi-ton
   marihuana seizures.

                                  9
of the entire seizure were taken and submitted as evidence.
According to an assistant U.S. attorney in San Diego, this
practice worked reasonably well. There were no indications
of lost prosecutions and the practice significantly zeduced
Federal agencies' evidence storage problems in southern Cali-
fornia.
      In December 1974 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in
affirming a mnarihuana conviction,l/ advised on the possibility
of reversal any time that evidence is lost or inadvertently
destroyed. Although the practice of using a representative
sample was approved, the Ninth Circuit stated that evidence
destruction should be permitted only after sufficient notice
is given to the defendant's counsel. Consequently, Federal
agencies in the Ninth Circuit changed their evidence proce-
dures to permit destruction of all but a sample of marihuana
only after the defense has been given time to examine the sei-
zure.
     According to the Chief Assistant U.S. attorney in San
Diego, the notice procedure has worked well, and the need
to store large marihuana seizures for indefinite periods
has been eliminated. The Solicitor General noted that the
new procedures should satisfy the requirements of the Ninth
Circuit Court to overcome any allegation of capricious, arbi-
trary, or unilateral destruction of evidence which would be
prejudicial to a defendant.
     Generally, because of storage problems, large marihuana
seizures are sampled and destroyed throughout the country.
Other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines con-
tinue to be completely retained. For example, when we first
visited a DEA regional office in California, we found in the
vault seized illicit drugs held for over 2 years. The New
York Customs regional office was storing drugs seized before
July 1973 as evidence. Department of Justice and Customs
officials told us that most U.S. attorneys prefer that
entire seizures be kept as evidence to be introduced into
court for its emotional impact on the jury.




l/United States v. Heiden, 508 F. 2d 898 (9th Cir. 1974).

                             l!10
U.S. attorneys' and Circuit Court
judges' views on samples
     The three U.S. attorneys' offices we contacted had
varying views on the propriety of using samples in court.
In Arizona, the U.S. attorney believed that photographs and
samples should be sufficient evidence. The Chief Assistant
U.S. Attorney in New York City, however, was unequivocally
opposed to sampling drug seizures. He said that it was im-
portant to retain the entire seizure to show the magnitude
and severity of the crime, particularly when the crime
involved lengthy sentences. The San Diego Chief Assistant
U.S. Attorney believed that the procedure used for marihuana
seizures could be used for other types of drug seizures.

     Several U.S. Circuit Court judges said the destruction
of the drug seizure before the trial was a possible basis
for a defendant to appeal his case. None of the four chief
judges interviewed favored a blanket policy of only retaining
a sample of the drug seizure for evidence. However, three
said that if the prosecution and defendant agreed (stipu-
lated) that a sample would be acceptable as evidence, then
the remainder of the drug seizure could be destroyed. They
felt that if this practice was encouraged, large quantities
of drugs could be destroyed much earlier.  The fourth chief
judge believed that the entire drug seizure should be re-
tained until the time for appeals has expired.

Sampling procedures need to be established
     We believe that establishing procedures requiring drug
samples for evidence, when acceptable to the prosecution and
defendant, would help solve many drug custody problems.
There is precedence for the use of such procedures. ATF has
authority to destroy immediately large seizures of contraband
liquor (26 U.S.C. 5609). Samples of the seizure and the
expert testimony of ATF agents are accepted as eidence. Be-
cause of the possible reluctance of U.S. attorneys to use drug
evidence samples and of Federal District Court judges to ac-
cept them, plus the possible use of sampling as a basis for
appeal, similar legislation may be needed to establish a work-
able drug evidence sampling procedure.

     In April 1973, a bill (H.R. 6683, 93rd Cong.) was intro-
duced which would have required the prompt destruction of all
contraband, including narcotics and dangerous drugs, following
seizure. Before destruction a sample, never to exceed 50
grams, would be taken from each exhibit for evidence. The



                            11
proposed legislation was intended to lessen the potential
for illegal diversion of contraband while in Government custo-
dy. Both the Treasury and Justice Departments favored passage
of the bill with minor amendments. The bill did not come be-
fore the Congress for a vote and has not been reintroduced.

     Officials of the Criminal Division of the Department of
Justice believe that a drug sampling procedure established by
the Attorney General is more desirable than legislation and
would be effectively implemented by the U.S. attorneys. They
said that such a procedure could provide more flexibility than
legislation and allow all Feized drug evidence to be retained
where iL is deemed necessary. One official suggested that re-
tention of the entire drug seizure should be allowed in some
cases but that this decision should be made only at head-
quarters. He stated that in most cases samples of seized
drugs and the expert testimony of DEA chemists would be ade-
quate evidence.
     DEA agrees; however, should the U.S. attorney think it
necessary to present the entire seizure in court, then DEA
believes that the entire seizure must be saved. DEA wants
no changes adopted which might have an unfavorable impact on
the prosecution of a drug case. DEA officials said that in
some cases, such as a conspiracy case, it is necessary to pre-
sent the entire seizure where other evidence is not as sub-
stantial; however, where several eyewitnesses and other strong
evidence are available, it should not be necessary.
STORAGE FACILITIES AND RECORDKEEPING
NEED TO BE IMPROVED
     In our visits to the regional and district offices of DEA
and Customs and two DEA laboratories, we noted several in-
stances where storage and recordkeeping controls were not ad-
hered to and thefts and losses could have gone undetected.

Storage facilities
      At the time of our visit certain DEA drug storage facili-
 ties in Arizona and California were overcrowded and did not
 meet DEA's minimum security standards.  (See photos, p. 14.)
,For example, at a laboratory where large quantities of drugs
 were stored, the drug storage vault was located several floors
 below the DEA personnel work area and had no alarm system.




                              12
     DEA, aware of the poor security at these locations, has
been working with GSA to improve storage conditions. Since
our initial visit, DEA has moved to improved facilities at two
of these locations.
     Storage facilities used by DEA and Customs in New York
appeared to be adequate.




                            13
ENTRANCE TO DEA'S EVIDENCE STORAGE ROOM IN ARIZONA




     MARIHUANA EVIDENCE IN STORAGE IN ARIZONA




                        14
Recordkeeping
     DEA procedural contruis over seized drugs require that
inventory records be kept for stored evidence and that period-
ic accountability inventories be taken. At the time of our
visit the regional office in California was taking tLe re-
quired physical inventory but was not verifying the results
with inventory records. As a result, this office identified
only drugs present and would not know if drugs were missing.
A regional order was subsequently issued which requires in-
ventories to be reconciled to inventory records twice a year.

     Similar situations existed at the U.S. Customs offices
in New York and California. No periodic physical inventory
was taken to verify the existence of evidence in storage even
though Customs requires an accountability drug inventory
every 3 years at each office. In New York spot checks were
taken each month from five randomly sampled drug case files
to verify dr g existence. In one California storage location
Customs' last inventory was taken in February 1973.

     DEA policy also includes procedures for documenting the
transfer of evidence and maintaining a drug evidence inventory
file for each regional and district office. This fiie shows
the total drug evidence responsibility for each office. Cus-
toms has similar procedures for retained drug evidence. A
comparison of items to inventory records at one DEA storage
facility in California showed that -he records were sometimes
incomplete. In one case, 95 grams of heroin were in storage
although listed in the file as destroyed.  Regional officials
are revising their recordKtepinc systel to strengthen con-
trols over seized drugs.

     According to DEA, a program of unannounced laboratory
inspections, conducted at least twice a year, is being imple-
mented to supplement the control system. These spot checks
focus on those exhibits most subject to theft such as large
quantity, high-purity heroin. However, DEA said that opera-
tional exigencies, together with manpower shortages, have kept
it from performing inspections as frequently as desired.

     Our review of 268 drug cases at Customs in New York
revealed several instances of inadequate recordkeeping.   For
example, in 14 instances involving 10,586 grams of drugs,
records showed that the drugs were released to DEA or other
agencies ~.hen in fact they were still at Customs  We found
26 other cases involving 2,244 grams of cocaine and codeine




                             15
that could not be routinely scheduled for destruction because
of inaccurate records, including

     -- missing case files,

     -- cace-file numbers that were recorded as being canceled
        but were assigned to drugs located in the vault, and

     --drugs that were not assigned a case-file number.

      Subsequent to our fieldwork, Justice Department internal
auditors reported on the adequacy of selected DEA regional
fand district offices' and laboratories' records which document
the chain of custody to preserve and safeguard acquired evi-
dence and other property. The report concluded that pre-
scribed procedures for drug evidence generally were adequate
and effective and that drug evidence was safeguarded, docu-
mented, and forwarded to laboratories in a timely manner.
The report did point out improvements that could be made, in-
cluding a need for more careful documentation of the chain of
custody of evidence in the case files.

Drug evidence accumulating unnecessarily

     The large amounts of drugs held in custody and the limited
space available at most DEA and Customs offices make it imper-
ative that evidence be promptly destroyed.  At DEA, the agent
assigned to the case is responsible for keeping abreast of its
status and generating the destruction paperwork; whereas at
Customs, the Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Branch pre-
pares the necessary documents.  Both agencies said they ate
dependent on the U.S. attorney for the information and author-
ity to destroy evidence when it is no longer needed.

     Eighty of the 268 cases we reviewed at the Customs office
in New York were checked to determine how long the seizures
had been in custody and the present status of the related
criminal cases.  The seizures contained about 370,000 grams
of drugs, most of which had been held 20 to 39 months. Nei-
ther the Fines, Penalties, and Forfeiture Branch nor the sei-
zure unit in Customs was aware of the case status.  Each
believed it was the other's responsibility to take appropri-
ate action.

     We checked 80 cases at the U.S. attorney's office in New
York and found that 16 of these cases were closed and the
evidence should have been destroyed.  From the records at the
U.S. attorney's office we were not able to establish the



                              16
status of the remaining 64 cases. This information indicates
a need for Customs to improve its system for determining case
status.

CONCLUSIONS
     If prompt destruction of rost marihuana seizures is per-
mitted once samples are taken and notice is given, it would
seem that sample quantities of other seized drugs should also
suffice as evidence. If established nationwide by the U.S.
attorneys, Customs, and DEA, the use of drug samples as evi-
dence would reduce storage and security problems and the po-
tential for serious drug losses at Customs and DEA storage
locations. We recognize, however, that -ny such procedure
would require court concurrence.

     Effective controls are needed by Federal agencies to safe-
guard seized drugs from theft and loss. The conditions de-
scribed at various DEA and Customs offices indicate that they
need to stre-gthen their practices to better insure that the
drug evidence is adequately controlled and the possibility
of drug diversion to illicit channels is reduced.




                            17
                          CHAPTER 3

             SEIZED CURRENCY COULD EARN INTEREST
     Large amounts of currency are being held as evidence by
Federal law enforcement agencies. This money generally is
either (1) taken from an alleged violator as fruits of a
crime (i.e., bank robbery and narcotics transactions) or (2)
used by agents to purchase evidence (buy money) and recovered
when arrests are made. Sometimes the seizing agency will
turn the money over to the U.S. Marshals Service while await-
ing its use as evidence or retain it as DEA normally does.
     Following whatever evidentiary use the money may have,
the court may decide on its disposition. If the court does
not decide the agency may turn it over to the Internal Revenue
Service or State for tax proceedings or return it to the
owner.  The agency normally cannot forfei. the money and must
return it to the owner if the Internal Revenue Service or
State does not accept it. If no one claims it, the agency
can declare the the money abandoned. This sometimes happens
when a claim of ownership would be self-incriminating.
     The Narcotic Sentencing and Seizure Act of 1976 proposed
by the President in April 1976 but not enacted, would have
amended the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to give DEA
authority to forfeit cash and other personal property used in
illegal drug transactions.
     We believe that seized money should be deposited in the
U.S. Treasury or returned to the rightful owner immediately
following seizure. Lists of serial numbers and photocopies of
the money could be used as evidence. If the ownership of the
seized money is in doubt, the money could be deposited in a
U.S. Treasury interest-bearing account until the court deter-
mines the rightful owner and then be returned.

     Although there appears to be no major problem with using
photocopies, photographing money for evidentiary purposes
could possibly violate 18 U.S.C. 474. The purpose of this
legislation is to protect the currency by prohibiting activ-
ities which could potentially constitute counterfeiting.
However, the Secretary of the Treasury may grant exceptions
to the statute.




                            18
INTEREST COULD BE EARNED

     The U.S. Marshals Service usually takes custody of
seized property including money that is to be used as evidence
in a Federal court trial. At the beginning of fiscal year
1975 the Service had about $4.6 million in custody, almost
all of which was kept in safe deposit boxes. During the year
the Service took custody of another $3.7 million and returned
$328,500 to Treasury and $4.8 million to individuals, banks,
and other private institutions. It had $3.2 million on hand
at the end of fiscal year 1975.  If the average monthly balance
of $3.9 million, computed from the beginning and ending yearly
totals had been deposited in a 6-percent U.S. Treasury ac-
count, it could have earned about $234,000 for the Government
and private parties.

     U.S. marshals handle seized money according to court or-
ders. Consequently, funds are handled differently in various
judicial districts. Money seized as evidence may be held for
years while related court proceedings are concluded. At
one time a marshal in California had about $2 million in a
safe deposit box. This included about $360,000 from an Army
base payroll robbery. The money was kept in California for
13 months while the case was tried in Louisiana. It was never
introduced as evidence, and no apparent reason existed for
holding the money for such a long time.

     In a 1964 case ATF recovered $17,000 used to purchase
evidence in an illegal firearms transaction. Because of the
many appeals, the money was held by the U.S. marshal for over
10 years.

     DEA usually maintains custody of seized money instead
of transferring it to the U.S. marshals.  At the end of the
1973-75 fiscal years DEA was holding as evidence the following
amounts of money that were not bearing interest.

                Fiscal year 1973 - $1,948,428
                Fiscal year 1974 - $ 883,122
                Fiscal year 1975 - $2,129,240
     At a 6-percent annual interest rate, these funds could
have earned about $300,000 in 3 years in a U.S. Treasury inter-
est-bearing account.

     One regional office had in custody, in its various stor-
age locations, about $200,000 in seized and recovered funds as
of May 31, 1975. Although some funds were in court during



                           19
trials, most of the funds were stored in agency safes.
Individual amounts ranged from $5 to several thousand dollars.

     Another regional office was holding about $1.4 million in
seized and recovered currency at the time of our review.
Funds pertaining to 16 cases, involving $134,508, had been
held 24 months. The funds were held in sealed evidence en-
velopes in vaults.

      Customs handles seized money like any other evidence.
Money seized because it was not declared properly is usually
promptly returned to the owner upon payment of a fine. Cus-
toms could not tell us how much money it has in custody. The
New York regional office was not holding any seized money
at the time of our review, nor were there any significant
amounts at the district office in Arizona.     In a California
Customs district office evidence   vault we located  $45,000
seized in February  1975 and still  in custody  in September
1975.

ACTUAL MONEY NOT NEEDED FOR EVIDENCE

     Where the defendant's attorney is given the opportunity
to examine the entire seizure and substitute evidence is
available, the actual money involved in a criminal transac-
tion may not be needed as evidence. A certified list of se-
rial numbers, together with photocopies of the money, would
constitute admissible evidence.
     the four judges in various circuit courts of appeal did
not favor establishing a rigid policy calling for the routine
use of serial numbers and photocopies as evidence. Three of
the judges indicated, however, that such a policy could be
pursued on a case-by-case basis with stipulations agreed to
by the defense and prosecution.

Recovered funds
      Buy money recovered by DEA is generally stored in a safe
until the case is adjudicated. Money not used as evidence or
no longer needed is returned to the Treasury. While the money
is in custody, DEA must obtain additional funds to purchase
evicdeizc.   We believe evidence neeis could be satisfied with
serial   numbers and pihoitocpse dia L     re-nvpred money reused.
A DEA official   told  us that some State  and iucr 1z" nriuocCmMent
agencies routinely    recirculate funds  provided by the Law
Enforcement Assistance    Administration  to purchase evidence.



                              20
Reuse of the money is not delayed because it is not retained
intact for use as evidence.  Instead, serial numbers and photo-
copies of the money are used for evidence.
CONCLUSIONS

     We believe the Federal Government, private individuals,
and institutions could realize additional interest if recovered
and seized money were deposited in U.S. Treasury i...erest-
bearing accounts or returned sooner to its rightful owner
rather than stored in vaults and safe deposit boxes. Re-
covered buy money could be made available for reuse by the
agency. Evidence needs could be met with serial numbers and
photocopies of the actual money provided the courts and at-
torneys concur with the substitution.




                            21
                                CHAPTER 4

             IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED IN SEIZED VEHICLE STORAGE,

                 FORFEITURE, AND DISPOSITION PRACTICES
     Federal laws subject vehicles involved in the commission
of certain crimes to seizure and forfeiture.   Those that are
forfeited to the Government are either placed intco service
by the seizing agency or disposed of through public sale.
The following table lists the numbers of vehicles seized, for-
feited, and disposed of by ATF, DEA: and Customs during fiscal
year 1975. These three agencies seize and forfeit most of the
vehicles confiscated by the Federal Government.   Those vehi-
cles se'zed but not forfeited are returned to the original
owner. Some of the figures do not total because some for-
feited vehicles were awaiting placement or sale at the time
of our review.
                                          Number of vehicles
Seizing                                               Placed in
agency        Vehicle        Seized        Forfeited   service     Sold
ATF           Automobiles      321             228         66       162
              Vessels            1
DEA           Automobiles    1,859           a/702       360      b/342
              Vessels            8
              Aircraft          23

Customs       Automobiles   10,839           1,054       158        892
              Vessels          167                7        7          0
              Aircraft         106               .73      12          8
a/Another 805 vehicles seized were pending possible forfeiture
  and disposition at the time of our review.

b/Sold by GSA.
     During our review of various agencies' practices regard-
ing the custody, forfeiture, and disposition of seized vehi-
cles, we found unnecessary delays in the administrative for-
feiture process by seizing agencies and in processing certain
vehicles through judicial proceedings. Also, vehicle storage
problems have subjected seized vehicles and aircraft to depre-
ciation, deterioration, and vand!lism while in Government
_     tcu.




                                     22
CUSTODY AND FORFEITURE PROBLEMS
     Seized vehicles valued at $2,500 or more are required
by law to be judicially forfeited. Anyone claiming an inter-
est in a vehicle valued at less than $2,500 may file a claim
and post a bond on the vehicle and transfer the forfeiture
case to court. In an administrative forfeiture the seizing
agency can declare the forfeiture. In the judicial method
the U.S. attorney brings the case to court where a judge
determines a forfeiture. In both procedures notices of the
pending forfeiture are published to alert parties with an
interest in the seized vehicles.  The U.S. marshal takes cus-
tody of vehicles undergoing judicial forfeiture; however,
in some cases they remain at the seizing agencies' storage
facility.

     The time required to forfeit a vehicle can vary from
a few months to a year or more depending upon (1) the vehi-
cle value at the time of seizure, (2) the extent to which the
owner attempts to regain possession, and (3) the effectiveness
and speed with which the agencies process those vehicles that
can be forfeited administratively.

     Judicial forfeitures generally take more time than admin-
istrative forfeitures because of overcrowded court dockets and
the low priority given such cases by U.S. attorneys and the
Federal courts. These cases sometimes last several years
resulting in excessive vehicle depreciation. For example:

    -- In the DEA New York regional office four cases sent
       to the U.S. attorney took between 117 to 389 days be-
       fore the court made a forfeiture decision.

    -- In the ATF New York regional office, at the time of
       our review, seven cases had been in process an aver-
       age of 342 days and were still pending. One vehicle
       had been in custody only 39 days but another had been
       held over 3-1/2 years.

    -- One case at the New York Customs regional office had
       been with the U.S. attorney since March 1970.

    -- In the DEA Los Angeles regional office eight cases
       completed from August 1974 to June 1975 averaged 210
       days from the day they were sent to the U.S. attorney
       to the day the forfeiture decision was rendered by the
       court. The cases had been with the U.S. attorney from
       36 to 395 days. Twenty-three other cases initiated
       during the same period were still with the U.S. attor-
       ney at the time of our review.


                            23
     In many cases the time used by an agency to process an
administrative forfeiture is also excessive, mainly due to
clerical errors and lack of management attention to the for-
feiture program. Forfeiture programs are also weakened by
the poor security and storage given to the vehicles while
in Government custody.

     At Customs and DEA, many vehicles were in storage for a
year or more awaiting forfeiture.  For example, the New York
Customs office's average time to process an administrative
forfeiture was 323 days; sometimes it took more than 500 days.
During such long periods, depreciation considerably reduces
the value of the vehicle.

     Although we found examples of extended time elapsing
between vehicle seizure and its forfeiture by the agency, it
is possible for a seizing agency to administratively forfeit
a vehicle in a relatively short time. An administrative for-
feiture must be advertised for 21 days. If no petition is
received, the vehicle can be forfeited by the agency. Investi-
gations of petitions can be completed (and often are by DEA)
in another 20 to 30 days. Even if petitions are investigr d
and ruled on by the agency's general counsel, administrati
forfeitures can be accomplished in a relatively short periok
compared to those cases that have to be processed judicially
through a district court. This can be seen from the following
examples of administrative forfeiture cases.

     -- ATF's New York regional office processed 12 cases in
        an average of 96 days. Five of these cases which en-
        tailed petition investigations were processed in an
        average of 149 days.
     --DEA's New York regional office processed 26 cases in
       an average of 79 days.
     --At Customs' district office in San Diego, 23 cars
       seized in 1974 were forfeited and sold in an average
       of 135 days.

     -- ATF's Los Angeles district office has processed 10
        forfeitures in an average of 82 days from seizure to
        forfeiture since 1973.
Storage problems

     The D[A San Diego district office was storing at least
28 seized vehicles in various stages of the forfeiture



                             24
process that could have been forfeited and sold after a small
amount of paperwork. Some of these vehicles were held for
2 to 3 years, accumulating storage   iusts and decreasing the
vehicles' value. It appeared that a lapse in communication
between the district and regional offices had prevented the
vehicles from being sold. At the DEA office in Los Angeles
at least 13 vehicles were similarly delayed from being for-
feited and sold.

     The security provided seized vehicles varied from agency
to agency, even in the same geographical area. In San Diego,
about 25 percent of the 189 vehicles we observed at Customs
were subjected to vandalism and theft of parts because of
inadequate security. A similar condition existed at Customs
and DEA in Nogales where vehicles were stored on leased prop-
erty with little security.  (See photos, p. 26.) Because of
excessive depreciation and vandalism, the value of forfeited
vehicles sold at public auction is decreased. Also the ve-
hicle should be maintained in the event it is returned to
the original owner or lienholder.

     In New York, DEA had about 40 seized vehicles in a
midtown building at the time of our visit. Rent for the
storage space was $55,000 annually. Another 20 seized vehicles
were stored in a garage also used by DEA employees. Customs
in New York stores vehicles at a Government warehouse in New
Jersey. ATF uses a private garage in Manhattan for vehicles
undergoing judicial forfeiture. We found no incidents of
theft or vandalism at any of the locations.

     While depreciation and deterioration result from storing
automobiles over long periods, storage problems for seized
aircraft are even more siginificant. Seals can harden and
crack, rubber deteriorates, engine and controls can fuse from
rust, and aluminum skin corrodes. A Beechcraft D-50, seized
by Customs in June 1971, was appraised at $26,000 when it
was stored at an Army missile site in Long Beach, California.
The aircraft was forfeited and awarded for Customs use in
February 1973; however, in September 1974 it was s-ill parked
in a deteriorated condition and was unsuitable for service.
The aiplane apparently had received no maintenance while in
storage.  It was finally sold in March 1975 for $7,500.
Another plane, a Piper Cherokee Six, was also deteriorating
at the same site. When seized in 1972 it was valued at
$18,000 and customs requested the plane for official use.
In February 1975, forfeiture took place and Customs deter-
mined that the plane had deteriorated and was not desired for
official use. The aircraft was sold in June 1975 for $9,500.
Both planes had been in the custody of the U.S. marshal during
the judicial forfeiture process.



                             25
                SEIZED VEHICLE WHICH WAS VANDALIZED WHILE IN STORAGE
                 AT THE CUSTOMS DISTRICT OFFICE IN NOGALES, ARIZONA




                         OFFICE IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
(Source: GAO)



                                         26
     After we advised Customs personnel of the condition of
seized aircraft, a regional circular was issued requiring the
storage and maintenance of airplanes at Customs air support
facilities.

The administrative forfeiture
limit should be raised

     A reduction in time required to forfeit a vehicle would
allow (1) a decrease in depreciation and deterioration losses,
thereby increasing the sales value of the vehicles, (2)
vehicles desired for agency use to be obtained in less time,
and (3) storage costs to be reduced.

     Judicial forfeiture sometimes requires more time
administrative forfeiture and burdens the U.S. attorneythan
                                                         and
courts with more work. Vehicles valued at more than $2,500
must be submitted to the court for judicial forfeiture.
Since values of vehicles have greatly increased since 1954
when the $2,500 ceiling was established, we believe an in-
crease in the dollar amount is needed. Officials from Cus-
toms, DEA, and the U.S. attorney's offices support such a
change to shorten the forfeiture time and reduce the work-
load of the U.S. attorneys and the courts.

     The legislation mentioned on page 4 would have raised
the ceiling for administrative forfeitures to $10,000 in an
effort to make the law against drug traffickers swifter and
more effective and relieve court congestion.

     The Department of Justice proposed similar legislation
in April 1975.  It indicated that raising the administrative
forfeiture limit would substantially reduce the volume of
judicial forfeiture cases. It stated that in the past few
years the value of vehicles has substantially increased re-
sulting in an increased number of seized vehicles requiring
judicial forfeiture.

     The Department indicated that some delays of 2 or 3
years have been experienced in certain large cities.  In some
cases, vehicles which were suitable for official use when
seized deteriorated to the point where they were unusable.

VEHICLE SALES SHOULD BE CENTRALIZED

     A forfeited vehicle may be retained for Government use
or sold.  If the vehicle is in good condition and desirable
for official use, the seizing agency will usually put it into



                             27
service.  A vehicle less than 4 years old, not wanted by the
seizing agency, must be reported to GSA as available to other
Federal agencies.  If no other agency wants the vehicle it is
sold.

     The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of
1949 (40 U.S.C. 471 et. seq.) made GSA responsible for dis-
posing of property in excess of the Government s needs.
However, as permitted under 41 C.F.R. 101-:5.404, some law
enforcement agencies sell forfeited vehicles not put into
service.  Most Government agencies turn over unwanted vehicles
to GSA for sale.  Even law enforcement agencies transfer used
vehicles to GSA for sale, whether or not they were originally
obtained through forfeiture.

     Customs sells forfeited vehicles not placed in service
through public auction.  The U.S. Marshals Service conducts
sales by court order to a number of bidders.  ATF sells
vehicles through mailed bids.  Customs, ATF, and U.S. Marshals
Service vehicle sales are conducted or supervised by law
enforcement officers.

     DEA transfers its seized vehicles to GSA for sale,
citing manpower savings on the part of administrative and
enforcement personnel in performing sales functions.  These
functions include maintaining bidders lists, preparing bid
forms, and receiving and evaluating bids.

     During fiscal year 1975 DEA transferred 342 forfeited
vehicles to GSA for sale.  ATF and Customs sold 162 and 900
forfeited vehicles, respectively, including 8 aircraft in
fiscal year 1975.  Total vehicles sold by the U.S. marshals
was not available.

     Customs sales have given the agency some expertise in
auctioning vehicles but resulted in customs law enforcement
personnel performing some of the sales functions.  ATF
special agents also perform the sales function in their
regions.  This practice takes Treasury law enforcement person-
nel away from their primary enforcement responsibilities.

     We believe that the Treasury agencies should consider
transferring forfeited vehicles not placed in service to
GSA for sale.  By doing so, ATF and Customs agents would not
be taken away from law enforcement duties.  Also, the vehicle
selling function would be centralized in the agency established
by the Congress to perform the sales function for Government
agencies.


                            28
     While Customs and ATF officials voiced no objection to
transferring the sale of forfeited vehicles to GSA, ATF
officials indicated that there may be legal problems associated
with such a transfer.  ATF officials told us that the
Department of the Treasury in the past has not considered
forfeited vehicles not placed into service to be surplus
property as defined by law, and therefore they cannot be
transferred to GSA for disposition.  Treasury officials are
PIso Concerned that such a procedure would violate 19 U.S.C.
1600 et. seq. which requires that property seized by Customs
be solT in the judicial district where seized.  If there are
such problems, Treasury and GSA should jointly recommend the
legislation needed t. allow the transfer.

     GSA officials agreed that it should have responsibility
for selling vehicles which are not needed by the seizing
agencies.  They cited their capabilities for conducting more
efficient sales because of their comprehensive bidding lists
and expert sales personnel.

     During fiscal year 1975 GSA sold about 17,000 vehicles,
about 7,700 of which were owned by other a, ncies.  The
Treasury agencies sold about 1,060 vehicles including 8 air-
craft.

CONCLUSIONS

     Federal agencies need to improve their practices related
to the forfeiture, custody, and disposition of seized vehicles.
Existing practices have resulted in forfeiture delays causing
depreciation, deterioration, and vandalism to the vehicles.

     GSA normally has responsibility for disposing of surplus
Government vehicles.   We believe the Treasury agencies should
consider transferring forfeited vehicles not placed in service
to GSA for disposal.   The agencies would still process the
forfeiture paperwork, but would be relieved of the actual
selling process.  This would reduce the time demands on law
enforcement personnel.

     We also believe that, in certain cases, forfeiture proc-
ess time would be shortened through an increase in the dollar
limitation for administrative forfeiture.   An additional
benefit would be the reduced workload of  U.S. attorneys and
Federal courts.




                             29
                           CHAPTER 5

                SEIZURE AND CUSTODY PROBLEMS

                 FOR FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES

     ATF, Customs, DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, and other
Federal agencies seize firearms and explosives In carrying
out their law enforcement responsibilities.  Although many
firearms are taken for evidence or safekeeping in narcotics
or customs violations, primary authority for enforcing
Federal firearms laws has been given to ATF.  Because of
various agencies' failure to handle seized firearms in
compliance with laws and regulations and other administrative
problems, firearms

     -- have been accumulating in agency vaults and

     -- are being destroyed or acquired by an agency not
        having forfeiture authority.
Also, ATF seizes large amounts of dangerous explosives that
could be destroyed earlier if proposed legislation were
passed.

ACCUMULATION OF FIREARMS
      In April 1975 the U.S. marshal in Los Angeles had 61
seized firearms in his custody. Of these, 17 were seized
at airports during a 2-1/2-year period, from 1970 to 1973,
when the U.S. marshals were directly respnsible for enforc-
ing the Federal anti-air piracy laws. Although many cases
had been closed, the U.S. attorney had not notified the
marshal that he could turn over the weapons to ATF for dis-
position. The marshal can only dispose of firearms by court
order.

     After we brought the matter to his attention, the U.S.
marshal in Los Angeles contacted both the U.S. attorney and
the FBI to request the status of cases involving seized
firearms. He concluded that more than half of the 61 fire-
arms seized in connection with criminal cases could be dis-
posed of. Arrangements were made so that ATF could acquire,
forfeit, and destroy the guns.
     Customs has the authority to seize firearms that (1)
are not properly registered (19 U.S.C. 1490, 1491), (2)
are illegally entering the United States under ATF statutes,



                              30
(18 U.S.C. 921, 924(d), and 26 U.S.C. 5801-5872), or (3)
violate neutrality laws (22 U.S.C. 401, 1934).  Customs
attempts to turn over to ATF seized guns involving ATF
statutes; however, Customs forfeits these weapons even if
ATF does not accept a case for forfeiture and prosecution.
Customs also forfeits weapons seized for neutrality law
violations. Firearms seized for lack of proper registration
are considered general-order merchandise holdings and must
be held for 1 year to allow the owner to comply with the
law.
     At the Customs New York office, 346 firearm seizure
cases were in active files. Although most cases involved 1
gun, 1 case involved almost 10,000 starter and tear gas
pistols. Our review of 57 of the 346 cases showed that most
of the weapons had been forfeited to the Government. They
have been accumulating, however, since 1972 when disposal
by dumping at sea was banned. Customs officials said they
are considering smelting as the destruction method for seized
firearms. GSA regulations (41 C.F.R. 101-45.403) prohibit
Government agencies from selling abandoned and forfeited
firearms except those seized as general-order merchandise.
These weapons are sold as required by customs law. In fiscal
year 1975, Customs sold 190 handguns, rifles, and shotguns
and destroyed over 2,500 weapons.
     The Custcns office in Nogales, Arizona, was holding 35
firearms involved in 21 cases at the time of our visit.
A check with tie U.S. attorney in Tucson showed that 12 of
the 21 cases haC been closed. The closed cases involved
23 firearms which could have been destroyed or put to offi-
cial use. Needless accumulation of firearms appeared to
result from t lack of communication between Custums and
the U.S. attorney.
FIREARMS DISPOSAL

     DEA currently has no legal authority to forfeit fire-
arms but it, along with other Federal law enforcement agen-
cies, can decl -e seized weapons abandoned.  In this pro-
cedure, however, as in administrative forfeiture procedures,
the agency is obliged to notify the legal owner.  Intent to
abandon would only be inferred where Federal agencies could
show tnat notice of possible weapon destruction was given
to the owners and the owners did not respond within a
reasonable period of time.




                             31
     The DEA offices in Los Angeles and Nogales do not notify
the owners before destroying or acquiring the weapons, and
the New York office has been iccumulating firearms for several
years without notifying the owners or destroying the weapons.
The DEA firearms log in New York showed 325 seized firearms
in custody in Jilly 1975.

      From June 1969 to 1975, the DEA Los Angeles regional
office received ard later destroyed or put to official use at
least 96 firearms seized in drug-related cases.   ATF often
will not accept DEA seized firearms because they do not meet
th'eir forfeiture criteria or information to sustain a for-
feiture has not been obtained.   To dispose of the guns on
its own, the DEA Los Angeles regional office considers them
abandoned after 6 months.   No effort was made to notify the
legal owners that they could reclaim the guns.

     Proposed DEA regulations specify that the personal
property owner will be notified by certified mail at his
address of record so that the described property may be
claimed by him or his designee.  Such a regulation, while
meeting legal guidelines for abandonment, could permit
firearms to be returned to criminals or their associates.

     It appears DEA must find another solution to its seized
firearm accumulation problem.   An alternative might be to
turn over to ATF all firearms seized as evidence, but not
used as such.  Under Faderal firearms laws ATF might forfeit
them by its own procedures.   Additional work would be re-
quired by DEA to document the facts of the seizure.   ATF
officials told us they will not  accept a seized firearm
without a complete report describing the nature of the
seizure and outlining sufficient criteria for forfeiture.

SEIZED EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS

     Under the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. 5845) and
18 U.S.C. 844, ATF is authorized to seize and forfeit un-
registered "gangster" style weapons such as sawed-off shot-
guns and destructive devices such as bombs and explosives.

     In fiscal year 1975 ATF seized 2,180 pounds of high-
grade explosives, 1,256 pounds of low-grade explosives, and
58,275 pounds of blasting agents.   The ATF Director told
us that explosives seized  for forfeiture by ATF or held as
evidence for court proceedings  are difficult to maintain
and store and have created  hazardous conditions.  Some of




                             32
the seized explosives are too dangerous to move to safe
storage facilities and in some cases are too dangerous to
store.
     According to ATF, because of time-consuming forfeiture
procedures and court proceedings and appeals, these materials
are sometimes held for a long time. The longer the time, the
greater the potential for abuse or accident.

     Currently, ATF must store the seized weapons and ex-
plosives until the completion of forfeiture proceedings and/
or their evidentiary use is over.      ATF believes that the
physical presence of all   of  the  seized explosive material
is not necessary for   judicial  court  proceedings and that
small safe samples  of  bulk  seizures  or identifying serial
numbers, eyewitness  testimony,    or photographs should be
adequate as admissible   evidence.    Consequently, explosive
material could be promptly destroyed. This would preclude
the prolonged storing of dangerous explosive materials and
minimize the danger involved in handling explosives.

     ATF also believes explosive materials and the gangster-
style weapons should not and need not go through the for-
feiture process.  It believes illegal materials that cannot
be moved or stored safely and are illegal for individuals
to possess should be destroyed. This would eliminate the
danger of handling explosive materials and reduce the chance
of injury to individuals and property.
     Whether the forfeiture proceedings are judicial or
administrative, they can be very time consuming and costly.
Such expenditures of time and money do not serve any useful
purpose when an unregistered firearm or bomb is seized.
These weapons cannot be returned to the person they were
seized from. An analogous procedure to one provided in the
Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 881) could be applied
to these items. Controlled substances having no accepted
medical use and having a high potential for abuse do not go
through a forfeiture process. Such controlled substances
cannot be legally possessed; therefore, no formal forfeiture
procedure is necessary. However, seized drugs are often
held for long periods of time as evidence, as described in
chapter 2.
     ATF has supported two bills intended to facilitate
the early destruction of unsafe explosive materials. A
bill (H.R. 10392, 94th Cong.) was introduced to amend section



                             33
884, title 18 of the U.S.C. and authorize the destruction
of seized and forfeited explosive materials when it is im-
practical or unsafe to move or store the materials. The bill
was not reported out of committee. ATF also supported an
administration bill that would have amended the National
Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. 5872) by eliminat}i g the need for
judicial and administrative forfeitures in cases involving
unregistered weapons and explosives.
CONCLUSIONS
     Law enforcement agencies are accumulating seized fire-
arms because of difficulties in determining a disposal method,
procedural difficulties with ATF, and lack of communication
with U.S. attorneys on the status of cases. Law enforcement
agencies need to more timely dispose of weapons. Some pos-
sible approaches that could be considered are forfeiture
by ATF, abandonment, or return to the owner. We also
believe that the U.S. attorneys' offices and law enforcement
agencies need to establish a system to communicate the status
of criminal cases so that firearms involved in closed cases
can be scheduled for forfeiture or disposition.




                               34
                          CHAPTER 6

               CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
CONCLUSIONS
     Federal law enforcement agencies seize large quantities
of property in carrying out their duties. This property is
often held for long periods of time either as evidence or
awaiting a forfeiture determination. Problems--loss of
illicit drugs, loss of interest on currency, loss of vehi-
cles' value due to deterioration, and the accumulation of
firearms (some of which are being held improperly)--seem to
have a common cause; toc much is held for too long.

     Opportunities exist for reducing the amount of seized
property. Samples of seized illicit drugs could be retained
for evidence and the bulk of the material could be destroyed.
Certified lists of serial numbers and photocopies of seized
money could be used for evidence, permitting the money to
be returned to the rightful owners immediately or deposited
in interest-bearing accounts until the rightful owner is
determined. A defendant's attorney would need to be afforded
the opportunity to examine the entire seizure. These pro-
cedures would require the concurrence of the courts and U.S.
attorneys.

     Effective controls are needed by Federal agencies to
safeguard seized drugs from loss. DEA and Customs need to
strengthen their practices to reduce the possibility of drugs
being diverted into illicit channels.

     Delays in the disposition of seized vehicles have re-
sulted in deterioration, depreciation, and vandalism. Federal
agencies need to improve their procedures for storing the
vehicles and more promptly determining their disposition.
The Treasury Department should consider transferring for-
feited vehicles to GSA for sale. Existing legislation re-
quires that a Federal court determine the disposition of
vehicles valued at more than $2,500. Legislation has been
proposed to raise the amount to $10,000 to increase the
number of vehicles that could be forfeited administratively.

     Law enforcement agencies should give more attention
to the large quantities of firearms they are accumulating.
Reasons for failure to dispose of firearms include (1) dif-
ficulty in determining a disposal method, (2) procedural
difficulties between ATF and other agencies, and (3) lack of


                             35
communication between the U.S. attorneys and enforcement
agencies as to the status of cases.

RECOMMENDATIONS

     To dispose of large quantities of seized property more
promptly we recommend that the Attorney General:

     -- Direct the U.S. attorneys and cognizant law enforce-
        ment agencies to use as evidence a sample of seized
        narcotics and dangerous drugs with a certified labor-
        atory report and the expert testimony of a DEA chemist
        attesting to the contents of the entire seizure where
        permitted by the U.S. court.  The bulk of the seizure
        should be destroyed after the defendant's counsel has
        had the opportunity to examine the seizure.

     -- Establish procedures to use certified lists of serial
        numbers and photocopies of seized money for evidence
        where permitted by the U.S. court.

     --Along with the Secretary of the Treasury direct DEA
       and Customs, respectively, to improve the administra-
       tion of seized weapons to allow for the more timely
       disposition of the weapons.  Some possible approaches
       that could be considered are forfeiture by ATF,
       abandonment, or quicker return to the rightful owner.

     -- Direct the U.S. attorneys to promptly advise law en-
        forcement agencies when cases are closed so that seized
        property can be disposed of.

     To better control drugs being held, we recommend that
the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury direct
DEA and Customs, respectively, to strengthen their drug and
narcotics evidence handling, storing, and accounting prac-
tices by:

     -- Taking periodic independent accountability inventories
        to verify the existence of drugs and narcotics
        evidence in vaults.

     -- Using adequate storage facilities that meet required
        security standards.

     -- Using a proper followup system to determine the
        status of cases for the purpose of destroying evidence
        related to closed cases.



                             36
     -- Monitoring regional offices for comnpliance with
        evidence procedures.

     To lessen seized vehicle value losses, we recommend that
the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury direct
their agencies to institute the necessary administrative
policies and practices to safeguard and prevent the unneces-
sary depreciation of seized vehicles.

     We also recommend that the Secretary of the Treasury
and the Administrator of GSA consider transferring all
forfeited vehicles not placed into service to GSA for dis-
position.

RECOMMENDATION TO THE CONGRESS

     The Congress should enact legislation similar to
section 503 of the President's April 27, 1976, proposed anti-
drug legislation entitled "The Narcotic Sentencing and Seizure
Act of 1976" (H.R. 13577 and S. 3411). Section 503 would
have raised the $2,500 limit for administrative forfeiture
to $10,000. Such legislation would increase the number of
seized vehicles that could be forfeited administratively and
possibly shorten the time from seizure to forfeiture. Any-
one wishing to judicially contest a forfeiture could still
transfer the proceeding to the Federal District Court by
filing the required claim and bond.

AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR RESPONSE

     The Departments of Justice and the Treasury and GSA
provided comments on our report. Justice generally agreed
with the need for corrective actions on the problems associ-
ated with the handling, storage, custody, and forfeiture of
property seized by Federal law enforcement agencies. Al-
though Justice foresees some difficulties in implementing
some of the recommendations in our report, it expressed a
willingness to work toward improvements in these areas.
(See app. I.) Treasury agreed with some of the recommenda-
tions, but questioned the legality and/or need for others.
(See app. II.) GSA agreed with our recommendation on those
operations in which it would be directly involved.   (See
app. III.)

     The comments of the various agencies, discussed in
greater detail, follow.




                              37
Drugs

     Justice generally supported our recommendation that
samples of drugs and other appropriate substitutes be used
for evidentiary purposes rather than holding the entire
seizure.  Justice stated that evidence sampling should be
adopted only with the clear understanding and concurrence
of the courts and that the procedure must be flexible
enough to allow the U.S. attorney to introduce into evidence
entire seizures of drugs if tactical considerations require
this approach.

     We agree with Justice's comment that any sampling pro-
cedure would require the concurrence of the courts and have
included such a provision in our recommendation.

     Treasury did not specifically comment on the use of
drug samples; however, its comments pertaining to evidence
samples are discussed on page 39.

      With regard to our recommendation that drug evidence
handling, storing, and accounting practices be strengthened,
both agencies outlined actions already taken or planned in
this area.   Treasury said that Customs would reassess the
adequacy of existing storage facilities and consider
instituting semiannual physical inventories.   Justice
noted that an internal audit had concluded that DEA's pro-
cedures for controlling evidence were adequate and effective
but that some improvements were needed for documenting evi-
dence handling and recording other acquisitions.   Justice
also noted DEA's physical security problems in storing evi-
dence.   According to Justice, improvements in drug storage
facilities are being made, but not as fast as DEA would
like.

Currency

     Justice stated that its position on using photocopies
and serial numbers instead of seized currency is identical
to that on seized drug samples.  Namely, it has no objection
to our recommended procedures upon submission of a full and
unequivocal stipulation by a defendant's attorney that the
substituted evidence accurately represented the entire
seizure and with the clear understanding and concurrence
of the courts.

     Justice pointed out that acceptance of our suggestion
would require authorization from Treasury to photocopy



                            38
currency. Justice stated that the FBI had worked out such
procedures under certain situations.
     We agree with Justice's comments that a proper legal
foundation must be laid before currency samples and photo-
copies could be used as c-idence. There does not appear to
be any legal prohibition against the Secretary of the
Treasury authorizing Federal prosecutors to photograph money
for evidentiary purposes in criminal prosecution as evi-
denced by the arrangement Treasury has with the FBI.

     Treasury stated that our recommendations on evidence
substitution raise substantial constitutional questions
bearing on the rights of defendants in criminal cases.
Treasury also questions whether the benefits expected to be
derived from evidence substitution procedures would be worth
the loss in psychological effect experienced in showing the
jury real evidence.
     We believe that our recommendations on evidence sub-
stitution will not violate a defendant's rights if the de-
fense attorney is given the opportunity to examine the entire
seizure, and if he and the court concur that all of the
actual drugs or money seized in a criminal case need not be
introduced as evidence. Samples of large marihuana se zures
and currency serial numbers already have been used in some
court cases.  (See pp. 9 and 20.)

     We believe the benefits from greater use of evidence
samples and substitutions in court cases are worthwhile.
In addition to the monetary benefits that could be obtained
by using evidence substitution, this practice would also
lessen the problems associated with holding large quantities
of seized property for long periods of time. Although it
is impossible to measure the possible psychological effect
of showing a jury all of the original seizure, none of the
prosecuting attorneys we spoke with stated that they knew
of any cases which were lost as a result of using samples.
Also, a policy calling for increased use of such practices
should allow for exceptions where the U.S. attorney be-
lieves it necessary to introduce entire seizures into
evidence. Such exceptions, however, should be monitored
by the Department of Justice to make certain they are
needed.  If the courts and attorneys do not make greater use
of evidence samples, Justice should consider proposing legis-
lation, such as it has favored in the past, to require the
prompt destruction of contraband and the use of evidence
samples. The use of evidence samples has precedence in ex-
isting ATF law (26 U.S.C. 5609).  (See p. 11.)


                             39
Vehicles

     Justice generally agreed with all of our   recommendations
regarding seized vehicles.  Justice:

     --Supports our recommendation that Congress favorably
       consider legislation that would raise the
       jurisdictional limit for administrative for-
       feitures of seized vehicles.

     ---Agrees that improvement could be made in the
        administrative forfeiture process to reduce
        processing time.

     -- Said that DEA is already following our
        recommendation that forfeited vehicles not
        placed into service be transferred to GSA for
        disposal.

     Treasury (1) agreed with our recommendation concerning
the need to raise the monetary limitation on administrative
forfeitures, (2) did not comment specifically on the need
to institute measures insuring a more expeditious forfeiture
of seized vehicles, and (3) questioned the legality of trans-
ferring forfeited vehicles not placed in service to GSA for
disposition.  Treasury stated that GSA sells surplus vehicles
and under the law (40 U.S.C. 304(a)) a forfeited vehicle
cannot be defined as surplus unless it is first acquired
for official use, used, and later declared "no longer needed"
by the seizing agency.  Also, Treasury said the law (19
U.S.C. 1600 et. seq.) requires Customs to sell forfeited
merchandise In the judicial district where it was seized.

     As stated in chapter 4, we believe Treasury and GSA
should jointly pursue legislative changes if they believe
existing law(s) precludes transfer of forfeited vehicle.s
not placed into service to GSA for disposition.  Concerning
Treasury's interpretation of the law, GSA told us that it
has acquiesced to prior Treasury decisions on this matter
and that it appears legislation would be required.  (See
app. III.)  GSA also told us it would not need any additional
resources to handle such vehicles and agreed that it would
be in the best interest of the Government for it to handle
the sale of seized and forfeited vehicles.




                            40
Weapons
     Justice stated that there are difficulties in following
some of our suggestions for improving the administration of
seized weapons.  It said that to declare firearms abandoned
is replete with legal and -dministrative problems. Problems
also exist in turning over all firearms to ATF because seized
firearms do not always meet ATF's forfeiture criteria.
Justice did noc comment on our suggestion that firearms be
returned to their rightful owner.  It did state, however,
that every effort would be made to improve procedures for
more timely disposal of seized weapons.

     Treasury commented that Customs is empowered by statute
to seize, forfeit, and dispose of firearms and that this
function cannot be delegated to ATF without-legislation.
However, it was not the intent of our recommendation that
Customs delegate these functions to ATF. Our intent was
to highlight the overall need for improved administration
of seized weapons. We mentioned three possible approaches
that could be used selectively by the agencies to speed the
disposition of these weapons. We included forfeiture through
ATF since DEA does not have authority to forfeit weapons.
The wording of our recommendation has been clarified.

Status of court cases
Tnvolving seizures
     Treasury and Justice agreed with our recommendation
designed to improve communications between the U.S. attorneys
and law enforcement agencies so that evidence related to
closed cases could be timely destroyed.  Justice stated
that the U.S. Marshals Service has agreed to establish
follow-up procedures with the U.S. attorney handling open
cases to determine the status of the cases. Treasury stated
that it had informed ATF and Customs to implement procedures
providing for the destruction of stored firearms as soon as
related judicial proceedings have been completed and that
Customs will review the feasibility of establishing procedures
to insure that current court docket information is available
on drugs held in custody.




                             41
APPENDIX I                                                               APPENDIX I

                           UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
                                     WASHINGTON, D.C.   2_0_

    Addfe Ro)y to I'
     Dimep·l -   .s-                                           February 8, 1977
ad Rdw to Ibdl     Noamw




            Mr. Victor L. Lowe
            Director
            General Government Division
            United States General Accounting Office
            Washington, D.C. 20548
            Dear Mr. Lowe:
                 This letter is in response to your request for
            comments on the draft report titled "Law Enforcement
            Agencies Need to Improve Handling of Drugs, Firearms,
            Currency and Other Seized Property."
                 We believe that GAO has done a commendable job in
            pointing out the problems associated with the handling,
            storage, custody, and forfeiture of property seized by
            Federal law enforcement agencies. While we agree in
            general with the concepts of GAO's recommendations
            regarding evidence substitutions and sample quantities,
            we believe difficulties will oftentimes be encountered
            in obtaining the complete concurrence of the U.S.
            Attorney, the Courts and the defendant's attorney
            because of tactical or other considerations. Some of
            our comments will focus on these issues.
                 The draft report recommends that samples of drugs,
            including as appropriate, photographs, laboratory reports,
            and expert testimony be used for evidentiary purposes
            rather than offering entire seizures into evidence. In
            general, we support this recommendation. In fact, the
            Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) initiated efforts
            in 1973 to establish procedures for disposing of bulk
            narcotic and dangerous drug seizures and purchases and
            for using relatively small samples from these seizures
            and purchases for evidentiary use. However, DEA did
            not wish to see any changes adopted that might impact
            unfavorably upon prosecutive intentions, either in the
            instant case or on potential future conspiracy prosecu-
            tions developed as a result of the instant case.




                                          42
APPENDIX I
                                                         APPENDIX I
       From a practical standpoint, U.S. Attorneys have
  no objection to using sample quantities of seized drugs
  upon the submission of a full and unequivocal stipulation
  by a defendant's attorney that the substituted evidence
  accurately represented the entire seizure. However,
  we are mindful of GAO's statement in the report that
  judges interviewed on this subject indicated they
  not in favor of the adoption of such practices on were
                                                    a
  routine basis. For this reason, we believe evidence
  sampling should be adopted only with the clear understanding
  and concurrence of the Courts.
       The admissibility of evidence is governed generally
 by the Federal Rules of Evidence. However, individual
 judges often have particular preferences which U.S.
 Attorneys must be free to meet. Additionally, tl'ere
 times when the U.S. Attorney may deem it advisable    are
 necessary, as a tactical consideration, to introduceor
 evidence entire seizures of drugs. The ability of     into
                                                     the
 U.S. Attorney to control, in large measure, the progress
 of each criminal case and the introduction of evidence
 remain as unfettered as possible.                       must

       The report recommends that the Attorney GeLaral, with
  the concurrence of the U.S. Courts, establish procedures
  to provide for the use of certified lists of serial
 numbers and photocopies of seized money for evidence
 rather than introducing the actual currency. The handling
 of seized currency and its admissibility in the prosecution
 of a case is of express interest and concern to the
                                                       Federal
 Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It has been the practice
 the FBI in the recent past to place money seized through of
 the execution of Federal search warrants in gambling
                                                        cases
 in a safe-deposit box in a reputable bank. The safe-ieposit
 box is under the control of the Special Agent in Charge
 and/or the Assistant Special Agent in Charge.
 cedure is followed after consultation with the This  pro-
                                                 appropriate
 U.S. Attorney or Strike Force representative and the
 United States Marshal's Office. The primary reason local
                                                      for
 following this procedure is due to the fact that the
                                                        .ioney
 seized is considered fruits of the crime and/or contraband
 and in most cases will be introduced by the
 seized same at a trial in Federal court. By agent  who
                                               placing the
 money in a safe-deposit box, the evidence is thus under
 direct control of the FBI, more readily available when the
 needed, and the chain of custody is more directly        it is
 established. It should be noted, however, that the
 FBI's Manual of Rules and Regulations does not stipulate,
 and necessarily so, as to when the FBI should furnish
 currency seized during investigations to the United
 States Marshal's Office.     See GAO note 2. p. 47.1

 The FBI Manual of Rules and Regulations states as follows




                               43
APPENDIX I                                             APPENDIX I

     "In some cases it will not be possible or desirable
     to turn money and other valuables over to the
     marshal.  It is preferable such items ra stored
     in a safe-deposit box of a reputable bank and
     compelling reasons must be present before
     considering the alternative method of storing
     these items in a safe or security-type fireproof
     file cabinet in the field office."


                      (See GAO note 2, p. 47.1


         On page 31 of the GAO report, the statement is made:
    "A review of court cases relating to the admission of
    money as evidence suggests that the actual money involved
    in a criminal transaction need not itself be introduced
    as evidence." Elsewhere in the report, on pages 26 through
    32, similar statements are made to the effect that lists
    of serial numbers and/or photocopies of the money would
    constitute admissible evidence in lieu of the original
    money.      [See GAO note 2, P. 47.-     Although a com-

    prehensive review of the case law surrounding this
    question was not possible due to the short time available
    for response, a review of several recognized authorities
    on the law of 3vidence and the cases cited therein
    indicates that GAO's conclusions are somewhat simplistic
    in that it is not a simple matter to put their recommendation
    into prarcice.   Nonetheless, the introduction of testimony
    together with lists of particular currency and a represen-
    tative sample of the currency seized is being utilized as
    evideince in a number of prosecutions throughout the
   country. However, the personal preferences of the
   particular United States District Court judge before whom
    the US. Attorney presents his case must be taken into
    account.   Also, the U.S. Attorney must have discretion
    to introduce the entire seizure if required by the judge
   or if deemed advisable by him in the exercise of his
   professional judgment.    Many United States District Court
   judges require the introduction of entire seizures of
   currency unless a stipulation is obtained from the defense
   counsel. As pointed out by GAO, discussions with four
   judges in various Circuit Courts of Appeal revealed that
   none favors the use of serial numbers and photocopies on
   a routine basis. Our position on seized currency is
   identical to that on seized drugs. We have no objection
   to GAO's recommended proced:,res upon submission of a full
   and unequivocal stipulation by a defendant's attorney
   that the substituted evidence accurately represented the
   entire seizure and with the clear understanding and
   concurrence of the courts.




                                44
APPENDIX I                                                   APPENDIX I
        With respect to the legal difficulties involved in
   photocopying United States currency, it is noted that
   although Title 18, United States Code, Section 474, appears
   to prohibit such reproduction,    the FBI has worked out
   certain procedures, primarily in kidnapping or extortion
   situations, which allow such copying.     United States
   Attorneys' Bulletin, Volume 22, Number 24, dated November 29,
   1974, captioned "Reproduction of Obligations of the United
   States to Facilitate Law Enforcement Policy" points out
   to U.S. Attorneys the fact that procedures have been worked
   out which would allow such copying in limited situations
   with prior or contemporaneous notification to the United
   States Secret Service. This is apparently recognized as
   proper under Title 18, United States Code, Section 504.
   However, our current understanding with the Department of
   the Treasury is not sufficiently broad to allow the xeroxing
   or other copying of currency for reasons suggested by GAO.
   Acceptance of GAO's suggestion will require the Department
   to seek authorization for such reproduction. 'It is not
   known whether the Department of the Treasury will be
   receptive to this proposal.
        The report recommends that DEA improve its adminis-
   tration of seized weapons to allow for the more timely
   disposition of the weapons either by forfeiture through
   the Burea.u of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF),
   abandonment, or return to the rightful owner.   DEA has
   been aware of the need to more expeditiously dispose of
   Seized firearms for some time.   However, DEA has no legal
   authority to forfeit firearms and the requirements for
   declaring seized firearms abandoned are replete with
   legal and administrative difficulties.   A third alternative
   identified by GAO--turning over to ATF all firearms seized
   but not used as evidence--also presents problems.   As
   the draft report points out "ATF often will not accept
   DEA seized firearms because they do not meet ATF forfeiture
   criteria or information to sustain a forfeiture has not
   been obtained." The crux of the problem stems from the
   fact that much of the information which ATF requires is
   not available to DEA.   While we do not see any quick and
   easy solution to the problem, we will make every effort
   to improve procedures for more timely disposal of seized
   weapons.
        The report also recommends that the U.S. Attorneys
   promptly advise law enforcement agencies when cases are
   closed so that seized property relating to the cases can
   be disposed of. Most U.S. Attorneys' offices are not
   administratively set up to routinely notify investigative
   agencies that seized property may be appropriately disposed
   of.  This is left in large measure to the Assistant U.S.
   Attorney who prosecuted the particular case and the needs
   of the investigative agency.  Most investigative agents,
   however, do follow the progress of "their" cases.




                               4,)
APPENDIX I                                              APPENDIX I

    We agree that attorneys and their staffs need to be
    periodically reminded that seized evidence and other
    property--which may or may not have been admitted into
    evidence in a particular case--should be considered for
    disposal a. soon as possible after the case is closed.   As
    the result  f an audit completed by the Departmental
    Internal Auuit Staff in July 1976 relating to seized and
    evidentiary property in the custody of the U.S. Marshals
    Service (USMS), the recommendation was made that the
    USMS establish follow-up procedures with the U.S.
    Attorney handling open cases to determine the status of
    the cases. The USMS concurred with the recommendation
    and agreed to establish such procedures. We believe
    this corrective action meets the intended objective
    of GAO's recommendation.

         The report furthe. recommends that DEA strengthen its
    drug and narcotic evidence handling, storing and accounting
    practices.   In April 1976, which was subsequent to GAO's
    visits to DEA field offices, the Justice Internal Audit
    Staff completed a DEA review covering (1) the controls
    exercised over acquired drugs, other legal evidence, and
    other property; and (2) the adequacy of chains and records
    of custody to preserve and safeguard acquired evidence
    and property.   In general, the report concluded that
    procedures for controlling drug evidence were adequate
    and effective and that drug evidence was safeguarded,
    documented, and forwarded to laboratories in £'. timely
    manner. However, the report did point out improvements
    that were needed for documenting evidence handling and
    recording other acquisitions. We believe the actions
    taken by DEA over a period of time to improve these
    areas have generally improved the overall quality of
    its evidence handling and accounting practices. DEA has
    identified certain physical security problems with regard
    to evidence storage which will require inordinately long
    periods of time to resolve.   This difficulty results from
    DEA's inability to unilaterally initiate corrective changes
    on leased or temporary space and the requirement to deal
    through another government agency. Corrections are being
    made, but not as expeditiously as DEA would like.

         The report also proposes recommendations regarding
    seized vehicle forfeitures and disposition practices. We
    support GAO's recommendation to the Congress for passage
    of proposed legislation which would raise the jurisdictional
    limit for administrative forfeiture of seized vehicles from
    $2,500 to $10,000.  As GAO indicates, this would ease the
    caseload of the Courts and the U.S. Attorneys, reduce the
    delay in disposition caused by judicial forfeiture
    proceedings, and reduce security, storage, maintenance, and ,
    depreciation costs of the vehicles. We should point out,




                              46
APPENDIX I                                                        APPENDIX I
   however, that the increased jurisdictional limit for
   administrative forfeiture will increase the number of
   administrative forfeitures required to be processed by
   the seizing agency. In this regard, GAO has pointed out
   the need for DEA to improve its administrative
   forfeiture process to reduce unnecessary delays in
   disposition. We agree that improvements can be made
   and DEA will evaluate its administrative forfeiture
   process in an effort to reduce processing time. At
   present, DEA's major problem is that all automobile
   petitions handled by them are investigated by their
   special agents, and the amount of resources that can be
   devoted to these petitions must be balanced against
   other priorities. Regarding GAO's reconmmendation that
   forfeited vehicles not placed into service be transferred
   to GSA for disposal, DEA is currently following this
   practice.



                          (See GAO note 2.1


       We appreciate the opportunity given us to comment
  on the draft report. Should you have any further questions,
  please free to contact us.

                                   Sincerel



                                  Glen E. Pommeren
                               Assistant Attorney
                                  for Administration




  GAO notes: 1. Page numbers cited in this appendix may not
                correspond to page numbers in the final report.
             2. Deleted comments relate to suggested changes
                that have been made in this report.




                                  47
APPENDIX II                                                      APPENDIX II



                             DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
                 /~fl,            WASHINGTON. D.C. 20220

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY
                                                       January 24, 1977



       Dear Mr. Lowe:

            This is in response to your August 4, 1976 letter
       with enclosure soliciting the Department's comments and
       suggestions on the contents of a Draft Report entitled,
       "Law Enforcement Agencies Nee' to Improve Handling of
       Drugs, Firearms, Cu-rency and Other Seized Property."

             In the study, certain practices employed by the
       Customs Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
       Firearms (ATF) with respect to handling and disposition
       of drugs, money, vehicles and firearms are criticized
       and recommendations made for their improvement. These
       recomnmendations range fron suggestions to the Secretary
       and the Attorney General which would impact the disposi-
       tion of evidence held in custody by ATF, the Customs
       Service and other law enforcement agencies, to proposals
       to Congress for legislation affecting administrative
       forfeiture proceedings.

            With respect to the disposition oL evidence held
       in custody by ATF and the Customs Service in pending
       criminal cases, the Draft Report recommends that in
       those cases where there are large quantities of seized
       drugs involved, a uniform policy should be developed
       which would permit the destruction of the bulk of such
       contraband after its inspection by the accused and his
       counsel.  Samples would be used at trial.

            The GAO reviewers also believe that a certified list
       of serial ntunmbers, photocopies and samples of currency
       which may have been seized as the fruit of a crime, or
       "buy money," used for the detection of a crime would
       suffice as evidence in a criminal proceeding without
       resort to the actual currency.    The GAO staff discussed
       this recormendation with four Federal Circuit Court Judges,
       who unanimously rejected it.    The Judges advised the staff
       that substitution of currency could be effected only in
       those casr; where counsel agreed by stipulation.




                                        48
APPENDIX II                                               APPENDIX II

       We agree with the Judges and also feel that the GAO
  recommendations raise substantial constitutional questions
  bearing on the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights of defendants
  in criminal cases. Further, in light of recent changes to
  the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which have expanded
  the rights of defendants in criminal cases; particularly
  with respect to pretrial discovery and other evidentiary
  matters, it is not believed that the recorrmendations are
  legally sound.
        Even apart from the legal question J  he sufficiency
  of evidence, and the real possibility that   defendant could
  successfully complain that by destroying evidence his rights
  had been prejudiced, there is the practical question of
  whether the benefits expected to be derived from the recom-
  mended procedures would be worth the loss in psychological
  effect normally experienced in showing the jury real evidence.
  In any event, this is a matter which must be left to the dis-
  cretion of the prosecutor in each individual-case.
       In addition to the foregoing, the GAO reviewers requested
  the Secretary to accomplish the following:

              1.   Improve Customs Service handling,
                   storage and accounting practices
                   with respect to seized drugs.
              2.   Improve Customs Service and Bureau
                   of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
                   procedures with respect to ex-
                   pediting the forfeiture and final
                   disposition of seized vehicles.
                   (The report suggests that juris-
                   diction for the forfeiture and
                   disposition be transferred to GSA).
              3.   Establish procedures whereby all
                   weapons seized by any federal law
                   enforcement agency, either for crim-
                   inal or civil purposes, are trans-
                   ferred to the Bureau of Alcohol,
                   Tobacco and Firearms for forfeiture
                   and destruction.

        With respect to the foregoing, the following comments
   are submitted:
   DRUGS
        Since July 1, 1973 when jurisdiction for the storage
   of drugs seized by the Customs Service was transferred to
   the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the potential
   for accountable drug losses from Customs facilities has
   been significantly diminished.  Parenthetically, the last



                                 49
APPENDIX II                                              APPENDIX II

   significant drug loss from a Custom's facility  occurred
   in 1973.   Currently, the only drugs stored in Customs
   facilities  are those few pre-July 1, 1973 seizures where
   judicial disposition has not been finalized, and those
   where minute quantities have been retained for future
   chemical analysis.   However, to insure the integrity of
   the present drug storage and accountability procedures,
   the Commissioner of the Customs Service has been requested
   to reassess the adequacy of existing storage facilities
   with a view to providing further reasonable safeguards.

            Concomitantly, the Commissioner will review the fea-
   sibility     of instituting semi-annual physical inventories
   of all drugs stored in Customs facilities     by disinterested
   Headquarters personnel, and establishing procedures at each
   facility    which will insure that current court docket infor-
   mation is available on drugs held in custody.       It is believed
   that this latter procedure may obviate future situations of
   the type which your staff encountered where drugs were held
   in custody despite the fact that related judicial proceedings
   had been finalized, or otherwise terminated.

   VEHIICLES

         On pages 41a and 42 of the Draft Report, Treasury
   agencies are requested to institute measures insuring a
   more expeditious forfeiture of seized vehicles.    Also,
   they are requested to seek the assistance of GSA in
   storing seized vehicles, and to consider the possibility
   of having GSA sell forfeited vehicles.    Finally, Congress
   is requested to  consider an amendment to  41 U.S.C. 7325,
   which would raise the monetary limitation on adminis-
   trative forfeitures from $2,500 to $10,000.    The GAO
   staff believes that such an amendment will expedite the
   final disposition of seized vehicles.

          The Draft Report asserts on page 38, that ATF pays
    GSA for the rental of storage space in a Brooklyn, New
    York warehouse, ,heere seized vehicles are stored.  We
    have been adviseda  y ATF that although there is a rental
    arrangement between ATF and GSA involving a Brooklyn ware-
    house, the space is used to store Bureau-owned property,
    not seized vehicles.

                          [See GAO note 1, p. 52.1

         On page 42 of the Draft Report, the reviewers suggest
    that title  to, and possession of, all forfeited vehicles
    not acquired for official Government use by the seizing
    agency, should be transferred to GSA as surplus property
    for sale.  This reconmnendation is predicated on the belief
    that such a procedure would be authorized by law, and would
    be beneficial to the Government since it would centralize




                                  NF0
APPENDIX II                                            APPENDIX II
   all vehicle sales in one agency which purportedly has a
   particular expertise in the area. We believe that a sub-
   stantial question exists as to the legality of this recom-
   mendation, particularly as it relates to vehicles seized
   by the Customs Service under the provisions of 19 U.S.C.
   1600 et seq.   These provisions, which pertain to the sale
   of forfeited merchandise seized by the Customs Service,
   including vehicles, state that the sale must be made in
   the judicial district where seized, under the supervision
   of the Regional Commissioner.

         We agree that 40 U.S.C. 484(c), empowers the Admin-
    istrator, GSA to sell vehicles defined as surplus under
   the provisions of 40 U.S.C. 472(g). However, 40 U.S.C.
   304(a) provides that a forfeited vehicle cannot be defined
   as surplus unless it is first acquired for official use,
   used, &.d later declared "no longer needed," by the seizing
   agency. Thus, any transfer of a forfeited veh.icle tc GSA
   for sale without following this procedure appears to be
   without legal sanction. For your information, there are
   .nclosed two legal memoranda, dated November 20, 1964 and
   February 7, 1968, respectively, prepared by former Directors
   of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Legal Division, Internal
   Revenue Service which specifically address the legal
   impediments inherent in this GSA reconmendation.

        We concur in the recorrmended amendment to 41 U.S.C.
   7325, raising the monetary limitations of administrative
   forfeitures from $2,500 to $10,000, since this might serve
   as a device for expediting final disposition of seized
   vehicles.

  FIREARMS


                     [See GAO note 1, p. 52.1

                                                     It is fur-
   ther reconmnended that ATF and the Customs Service develop,
   in conjunction with U.S. Attorneys, a system to conmunicate
   the status of criminal cases.

                      [See GAO note 2, p. 52.1

                                            The Customs Service
  is empowered by statute to seize, forfeit, and dispose of
  firearms seized under the provisions of the Tariff Act of
  1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1600 et seq) and the Arms Export
  Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2778). Further, the provisions of
  19 U.S.C. 1607 and 1611, indicate that the forfeiture and
  destruction of firearms seized by the Customs Service in its
  enforcement of either law, cannot be delegated to ATF.




                                51
APPENDIX II                                                         APPENLIX II

       Also, it must be pointed out that although ATF has
  primary jurisdiction for the Gun Control Act of 1968, as
  amended, and forfeiture of firearms seized thereunder, it
  must rely on a delegation from the GSA Administrator for
  authority to destroy the seized firearms.  26 U.S.C. 5872.


                            ISee GAO note 1.]
       An additional recomnendation in the Draft Report is
  that Treasury should direct the Customs Service, and ATF
  to maintain closer coordination with U.S. Attorneys on the
  status of criminal cases in order to reduce the unnecessary
  accumulation of firearms held in custody. We agree with
  this recommendation and have advised ATF and the Customs
  Service to implement procedures providing for the destruc-
  tion of stored firearms as soon as related judicial pro-
  ceedings have been completed.

           If I can be of   further assistance in this matter,
      please contact me.

                                            Sincerely yours,



                                                JI-   ..
                                                      .-   i   XS      A

                                           3 mes J. Featherstone
                                         Deputy Assistant Secretary
                                               (Enforcement)

     Mr. Victor L. Lowe
     Director
     General Government Division
     Unite.d States General
        Accounting Office
     Washington, D. C.    20548

     Enclosures




    GAO notes: 1. Deleted comments relate to material not in-
                  cluded in the final report.
               2. Deleted comments relate to suggested changes
                  that have been made in this report.
               3. Page numbers cited in this appendix may not
                  correspond to page numbers in the final re-
                  port.




                                   52
APPENDIX III
                                                               APPENDIX III


                             UNITED STATES OF AMERItA
                     GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
                                WASHINGTON. DC   ZOb(




       October 28,    1976


   The Honorable Elmer B. Staats
   Comptroller General of the United States
   General Accounting Office
   Washington, DC 20548
   Dear Mr. Staats:
   Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment
   your draft report to the Congress entitled           on
                                              "Law
   ment Agencies Need to Improve Handling of Drugs, Enforce-
   Currency, and Other Seized Property" transmitted Firearms,
   letter of August 4, 1976.                         by your

   We agree that it would be in the best interest of
   Government for the General Services Administration the
   to handle the sale of seized and forfeited vehicles.(GSA)
   During the initial stage of the review, we believed
   needed additional resources to Perform this           we
                                                service.
   However, a reassessment of our capabilities now
                                                    indicates
   that we can handle these sales within our existing
   sources. We will be pleased to meet with            re-
                                              Department of
   Treasury officials to discuss this matter.


                               [See GAO note, p.        54.1


   these comments further with Weyour
                                   will be pleased to discuss
                                      staff, if you so desire.
  Si     erely,


  JACK ECKERD
  Administrator

  Enclosure




                                         53
APPENDIX III                                                 APPENDIX III

   GSA comments to GAO draft report entitled "L,aw Enforcement
   Agencies Need to Improve Handling of Drugs, Firearms,
   Currency, and Other Seized Property"




                               [See GAO note.)



    In 1964, the Office of the General Counsel, Derartment of the
    Treasury, issued an opinion adopting the view that its laws did
    not permit a sale by GSA of vehicles forfeited under Treasury
    jurisdiction (which includes the U.S. Customs Service).   The
    Treasury General Counsel, in a separate opinion, further adopted
    the position that the Secretary of the Treasury had no authority
    to delegate the responsibility for sale of forfeited vehicles
    outside the Deoartment.   In view of the Treasury position and
    GSA's acquiescence therein, it appears that legislation would
    be required in order to authorize the Administrator of General
    Services to sell vehicles forfeited under the laws of the
    Department of the Treasury.




    GAO note:   Deleted comments relate to suggested changes that
                have been made in this report.




                                     54
APPENDIX IV                                         APPENDIX IV

              PRINCIPAL OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE
                FOR ADMINISTERING ACTIVITIES
                  DISCUSSED IN THIS REPORT
                                          Tenure of office
                                        From           To

                    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED
  STATES:
    Griffin B. Bell                   Jan.   1977   Present
    Richard L. Thornburgh (acting)    Jan.   1977   Jan. 1977
    Edward H. Levi                    Feb.   1975   Jan. 1977
    William B. Saxbe                  Jan.   1974   Feb. 1975
    Robert H. Bork, Jr. (acting)      Oct.   1973   Jan. 1974
    Elliot L. Richardson              May    1973   Oct. 1973
    Richard G. Kleindienst            June   1972   Apr. 1973
    Richard G. Kleindienst (acting)   Feb.   1972   June 1972
    John N. Mitchell                  Jan.   1969   Feb. 1972

ADMINISTRATOR, DRUG ENFORCEMENT
  ADMINISTRATION:
    Peter B. Bensinger                Feb.   1975    Present
    Peter B. Bensinger (acting)       Jan.   1975    Feb. 1975
    Henry S. Dogin (acting)           June   1975    Jan. 1975
    John R. Bartels, Jr.              Oct.   1973    May 1975
    John R. Bartels, Jr. (acting)     July   1973    Oct. 1973

DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES
  MARSHALS SERVICE:
    William E. Hall                   May 1976       Present
    Wayne B. Colburn                  Jan. 1970      May 1976

                 DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY:
    W. Michael Blumenthal             Jan.   1977    Present
    William E. Simon                  May    1974    Jan. 1977
    George P. Shultz                  June   1972    May 1974
    John B. Connally, Jr.             Feb.   1971    June 1972
    David M. Kennedy                  Jan.   196j    Feb. 1971

COMMISSIONER, U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE:
    G. R. Dickerson (acting)          May    1977    Present
    Vernon D. Acree                   May    1972    Apr. 1977
    Edwin F. Rains (acting)           Feb.   1972    May 1972
    Myles J. Ambrose                  Aug.   1969    Feb. 1972


                             55