Calling In the Marshals

New guardians take over the Government's bothersome booty

In Florida and Texas, expensive vessels seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration clutter waterways and marinas, accumulating barnacles. Along the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, a drug dealer's former Xanadu called Castle Hayne, complete with swimming pool and 22-horse stables, sits uninhabited. In the DEA'S Los Angeles office, a huge, garish oil painting decorates the squad room. "We don't know where to put the thing," an agent says of the confiscated treasure. "It won't fit in the vault."

Since 1978, federal agents have had the...

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