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DPS seizes over $1.1 million in U.S. currency and $6.1 million worth of illegal drugs in October

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 -

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Several traffic stops by Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers along with the efforts of DPS criminal investigators resulted in DPS seizing $1,193,339* in U.S. currency during the month of October. The currency is tied to Mexican drug cartels, drug distribution, money laundering, and gang activity.

DPS also seized a total of 7,125 pounds of marijuana during the month of October and current street values put the amount of marijuana seized at $3,918,750. DPS officers also seized 72 kilograms (159 pounds) of cocaine last month worth approximately $2,016,000. In addition, DPS seized 12.6 pounds of methamphetamine in October with a street value of $239,400. The total value of the illicit drugs seized by DPS last month is over $6.1 million. Fifty vehicles were also seized from suspected drug smugglers by DPS in October.

On other fronts, DPS Highway Patrol officers and criminal investigators assigned to the Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF) recovered 196 stolen vehicles during October. The combined value of the recovered property is over $2 million.

So far this year DPS has seized the following:
• U.S Currency: $12,512,955*
• Marijuana: 123,973 lbs Street Value: $68,185,150
• Cocaine: 1094.5 lbs (496.46 kilos) Street Value: $13,900,880
• Methamphetamine: 366.8 lbs Street Value: $6,969,200
• Heroin: 44.6 lbs (20.2 kilos) Street Value: $505,000
• Pills / Capsules: 10,735 Street Value: $53,675
• Total street value of drugs seized this year: $89,613,905

Property seized from suspected drug smugglers and criminal organizations this year:

• Vehicles: 587
• Weapons: 111

Stolen vehicles recovered: 2,696 Value of recovered property is over $33 million.
Stolen weapons recovered: 69

* The following is an explanation as to why money is seized and what happens to the money seized by DPS.

If the owner/operator cannot provide sufficient information to justify why they are traveling with a large some of cash, the money is seized for forfeiture. This is a civil process, and the owner/operator has another opportunity to provide proof the money is theirs and is not the proceeds from illegal activity. If the court finds in favor of the owner/operator, the money is returned. If the court finds in favor of Law Enforcement the money is deposited into a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) account, which can then be used by Law Enforcement and County Attorney's to fund additional criminal investigations and prosecutions.

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The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.