DEAR SUN SPOTS: What happens to the money and drugs the police collect when they conduct a drug bust? Does the money get used to pay the police for the extra work? What happens to the heroin?
— Heidi, Wilton
ANSWER: I called the Lewiston Police Department and spoke with Lt. David St. Pierre, a very helpful gentleman! He explained that drugs and money seized in a bust are first put into evidence and held until the end of the individual case’s court process, then the appeals process. Once guilt has been proven without doubt and the case is closed, the judge orders that the drugs be destroyed, which is carried out by incineration according to local environmental regulations.
On rare occasions, a small amount of certain drugs may be set aside to use in the training of K-9s.
As far as what happens to property and money seized, I went to the maine.gov statutes and boiled down some more information after getting the general outline of what happens from the good lieutenant. As long as it has been proven that the property is linked to the selling or production of illegal drugs, a district attorney or the state Attorney General may petition the Superior Court proceeding to order forfeiture of property used to make, process, deliver, and import or export drugs. This includes items such as vehicles, boats, planes, materials, products, equipment such as computers, and weapons used or intended for use in relation to the drug crime as well as money directly connected to illegal drug production and distribution.
Property subject to forfeiture is stored and is subject to the authority of any court in which a petition seeking the forfeiture of that property is filed. The state has the burden of proving all material facts by a preponderance of the evidence and the owner of the property or other person claiming under the property has the burden of proving by preponderance of the evidence.
At the hearing, a final order is filed and both parties have the right to appeal. The final order provides for the disposition of the property to the General Fund, less the reasonable expenses of the forfeiture proceedings, seizure, storage, maintenance of custody, advertising and notice.
Money seized, as well as proceeds from the sale of property seized, is then used by the police department to exclusively pay for equipment, training and enforcement of the law to combat illegal drug use. In other words, the money can’t be used for anything else.
For more information, go to https://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/15/title15ch517.pdf.
DEAR SUNSPOTS: I have a few needlepoint wall hangings (not under glass) and some chairs with needlepoint seats. How can I safely clean them?
— Laila, no town
ANSWER: First vacuum all your items with the brush attachment then I highly recommend that you use a furniture steamer. I don’t own one myself but I borrowed a Bissell SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot Cleaner, 5207F from my daughter. It does a fantastic job and you won’t have to take anything apart, use water, or have to block and stretch your items afterward.
If you want to purchase this steamer, you can get it for about $100. There are less expensive ones, but this is the model I can recommend.
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