Report: Mississippi police seized $200k in property under expired law

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new report says Mississippi police agencies have been seizing vehicles, cash and guns without the proper authority and no one noticed.

A report from the Associated Press says a review of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics database shows more than 60 civil asset forfeitures with nearly $200,000 in property taken by state and local agencies.

But here's the thing — this happened under a law that expired at the end of June.

People we talked to found that to be surprising.

"Yeah nobody noticed," a resident said.

But in an article filed by the AP, they spoke with several officials, including the state's Bureau of Narcotics director who said he didn't know the law expired until September.

The law allowed police to take $20,000 or less in property connected to illegal drugs regardless of whether someone was convicted criminally, unless an owner fought the seizure in court within 30 days.

A built-in repeal cancelled out the law on June 30.

That's something routine in Mississippi laws so legislators can review them. But bills that would've continued the administrative forfeiture died in a committee over the spring.

So law enforcement continued to take property.

A database showed at least 15 agencies filed paperwork documenting administrative seizures.

John Champion, the district attorney for multiple northern Mississippi counties, including Desoto County, said on Wednesday that somebody put an appeal on the law in 2013.

He says now when something is seized, his office will file a petition in court.

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