The United State's Attorney's Office intend to distribute from the forfeiture fund over $8 million to various law enforcement agencies throughout the Middle District of Florida.
Out of those funds, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office will receive $160,000. See "For Sheriff's Office, Crime Does Pay," by Molly Moorhead, Times staff writer, Sunday, December 28, 2008.
The money comes from cash, houses, vehicles, and other assets seized under Federal criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings. The forfeiture laws target money launderers, drug traffickers, marijuana grow houses and those involved in fraudulent activities.
In Pasco County, narcotics detectives targeted a number of houses where marijuana was being grown and distributed for seizure and forfeiture.
Many of those marijuana grow house cases were turned over to the United States Attorney's Office for prosecution, although certain cases were prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office in Pasco County.
For prosecutions by the State of Florida, targeting Florida marijuana grow houses became more profitable in 2008 with the new legislation that lowered the threshold amount of marijuana plants required to prove "intent to sell or distribute cannabis" which is a second degree felony offense.
The new 2008 Florida marijuana legislation also paved the way for more forfeitures of the houses and property by allowing the the owner of the cannabis grow house to be prosecuted for a third degree felony if it can be shown that the owner of the house knew it was being used to grow, cultivate, and distribute cannabis.
For more information on vehicle forfeitures, and asset forfeitures in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, and Polk County, visit our main website page which provides more detailed information on Florida Asset Seizure and Forfeiture.