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Utah police seized $2.2M in cash under civil forfeiture law

(Photo: Sam Penrod, KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah police seized about $2.2 million in cash last year from people under a law allowing authorities to take someone’s property even if they aren’t charged or convicted of a crime.

A report released by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice last week shows that virtually all the money and other assets was seized in drug investigations.

No criminal charges were filed in 13 percent of the cases.

Police also seized an additional $401,000 worth of property, including cars and gambling machines.

Civil asset forfeiture laws have been criticized by civil liberties advocates.

Law enforcement agencies say the laws can be critical to dismantling large-scale criminal operations and drug networks, while also helping authorities fund key programs or buy equipment.

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