Federal law enforcement officials have been busy over the last few months, and it seems that several people in Western New York have something in common, and it's not something they are particularly happy about either.

Federal agents and the Office of the US Attorney are seeking to seize three separate homes in Western New York to sell and use the proceeds of those transactions to fund police agencies, among other things potentially. This, of course, reminds us of the old saying that crime never pays unless you're the Federal government trying to take private property.

According to reporting by the Buffalo News, there are three homes in Western New York that federal officials have their eyes on seizing, valued at more than $1 million combined.

Property forfeiture is a tactic used by law enforcement agencies often as a way to punish people who are accused of crimes. While the government says it's a useful tool, civil liberties advocates decry the practice as unconstitutional due to it potentially lacking due process.

What Is Civil Asset Forfeiture

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), civil forfeiture allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime. Owners need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government.

According to data released by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York, more than $36 million was seized by officials in Western New York in 2022.

Law enforcement agencies all over the region use these funds for all sorts of things. The Buffalo Police Department, for example, plans to use some of the assets it has seized to buy new guns for officers.

It's important to note that someone does not have to be convicted of a crime in order for their assets to be seized.

Forfeiture was originally presented as a way to cripple large-scale criminal enterprises by diverting their resources. But today, aided by deeply flawed federal and state laws, many police departments use forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines, making seizures motivated by profit rather than crime-fighting. For people whose property has been seized through civil asset forfeiture, legally regaining such property is notoriously difficult and expensive, with costs sometimes exceeding the value of the property.
-American Civil Liberties Union

What Properties Are Being Seized IN Western New York?

Federal officials are seeking to take three homes in Western New York:

5061 Rockhaven Drive in Clarence,
4240 Wolf Run Drive in Lewiston, and
7122 Larry Drive in Wheatfield.

Federal officials allege that all three properties are linked to people who have been charged with various drug crimes or that the properties were used in drug transactions.

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