Law-enforcement agencies across Minnesota seized nearly $5 million in cash and forfeited property last year, which is a 25 percent increase from the previous year.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto released the figure in a new report Monday that offers a snapshot of criminal forfeitures. Otto said she expects the report will be more widely read this year because of scandals involving the now-disbanded Metro Gang Strike Force.
But she said the data won't indicate whether law-enforcement agencies are acting inappropriately because her office relies on them to self-report the forfeitures.
Otto said the strike force only claimed one seizure in about four years, but she hopes someone in law enforcement will come forward with information about addition seizures.
"Something obviously went very wrong there; they weren't reporting and we don't have a way of knowing [how many seizures happened]" Otto said.
Otto said new laws that will go into effect next month will beef up the reporting requirements, and next year's report will reflect those changes.