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DOJ Issues New Policy on Federal Adoption of Local, State Se

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SAN JUAN – Reinstatement of a policy will streamline the process of asset forfeiture by state and local law enforcement. 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointed out, in the following statement, guidelines are critical to the new policy:

"To ensure that this tool is used appropriately, the Department is implementing safeguards to make certain that there is sufficient evidence of criminal activity before a federal adoption occurs, that the evidence is well documented, that our state and local law enforcement partners have appropriate training to use this tool."

San Juan Police Department Chief Juan Gonzalez said the federal reinforcement is welcomed.

“We know that they're going to do a lot of money laundering, so our main focus is to defend the organization so they don't continue their enterprise, and also make sure that they don't continue to commit other crimes,” he said.

Gonzalez said the process of asset forfeiture rewards law enforcement. He said the money they receive in return is used towards overtime pay, squad units, equipment or training they may not afford otherwise. 

The San Juan police chief clarified the money is always useful, but emphasized the community's safety is top of mind.

“Our overall goal is to make sure that these criminal organizations do not continue to prey on the community,” he said.

The city of San Juan’s latest asset forfeiture reflection is their police station, a $1.3 million project.

Gonzalez said it took four years of seizures to raise the capital. No taxpayer money was used.

As for the new policy, it is now in effect and applies to all new requests. 

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