April 20, 2018
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Brewer accepts crime funds

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BREWER, Maine — The city’s Police Department has received more than $120,000 in seized or forfeited items, including cash, from two recent successfully prosecuted federal crime cases that involved Detective Fred Luce.

One of the criminal cases, which reached outside of Maine to Florida and Costa Rica, resulted in Brewer getting $119,200 in cash, Police Chief Perry Antone told the Brewer City Council on Tuesday.

“This is a case where Detective Luce had been working with the DEA for a number of months,” he said.

Luce is working temporarily for the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force, based out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor. Most but not all of Luce’s cases are drug-related.

When federal criminal cases are successfully prosecuted, it can result in a monetary boon for the police departments involved that get a percentage of the seized or forfeited items, Antone explained.

Some of the assets are real properties, others are cash. Any assets associated with a drug case can be seized, Antone has said.

The City Council created an asset forfeiture-seizure reserve account in April 2004, which allows the Police Department to receive the proceeds from forfeited or seized assets to pay for any law-enforcement-related expenditure.

Because of the Luce’s help in putting criminals behind bars, the Brewer Police Department has taken in more than $240,000 since the reserve account was created.

“That’s a huge amount of money,” Mayor Arthur “Archie” Verow said of the nearly $120,000. “What do we do with all that money?”

The department is restricted in how the funds may be spent, Antone said, adding he would like to use some of the funds to supplement Luce’s investigative activities.

“It can be used for training, or motor vehicle equipment,” he said.

Over the years, the funds have been used to purchase new firearms for officers, who replaced their .40-caliber Glock pistols with .45-caliber Glock pistols.

Councilor Manley DeBeck said the funds are an example of the good work of Brewer officers.

“I just think our citizens ought to know what our fine citizens in blue do,” he said. “It’s another great job by our people.”

The funds cannot be used to supplement a department’s budget, but instead can be used “to purchase equipment that we wouldn’t normally be able to,” Antone said.

The department also got $1,327 in seized funds from another case, bringing the total to $120,527, he said.

“It’s been a very successful couple of years for Detective Luce,” the police chief said. “We’re very proud of him.”

During the meeting, city councilors also:

— Recognized Kate Weigel, a Brewer High School junior, for being selected as the Dirigo Girls State governor, and Edward Spaight for his many years on the city’s planning board. Spaight has accepted a job in Florida.

— Accepted donations from the American Legion Daniel Geagan Post No. 98 in the amount of $2,000 from the veterans memorial brick sales revenues, and $3,500 to support the Brewer Police Department’s canine program from an anonymous resident.

— Approved a malt and liquor license for Yoshi Japanese Restaurant at 373 Wilson St. The building is being remodeled for the sushi and noodle restaurant. No opening date was given at the meeting.

— Authorized the code enforcement officer to proceed with a land use violation complaint against JR Redemption on South Main Street.



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