Los Angeles: Keeping The Loot

Keeping The Loot

1984 federal law allowed police agencies to keep assets seized from drug traffickers and money launderers. But not, of course, for personal use. Last week six members of an elite Los Angeles County sheriff's narcotics squad were convicted of conspiring to steal $48,000. They were acquitted of larceny on a grander scale: spending $1.4 million in confiscated cash on luxury cars, boats, jewelry and vacation homes.

The convicted officers may be only the first to fall in a widening corruption investigation that has tarnished the once squeaky-clean image of Los Angeles law-enforcement agencies. Dozens of narcotics agents from both the sheriff's...

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