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186.

Forfeited Vehicles and Other Property

Title 40 U.S.C. Section 304(h) authorizes a federal agency to retain forfeited property for official use. Title 28 U.S.C. § 881(e)(1) also allows the Attorney General to retain forfeited property for official use. Title 40 U.S.C. Section 304(i) allows the government to apply to the court to order delivery of forfeited property "to any other agency which requests and in his judgment should be given such property," and, if the government prevails in the forfeiture action, the court "should ... order delivery accordingly."

All requests for official use by any U.S. Attorney's office (USAO) of any type of forfeited property shall be submitted to the Assistant Director, Facilities Management and Support Services, for prior approval. This includes vehicles or other property which may presently be utilized without prior approval.

The Department of Justice appropriation language does not authorize the USAOs to own vehicles. The USAO seeking assignment of such a vehicle for official use must obtain a written memorandum of understanding with the federal investigative organization, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, Internal Revenue Service, Customs, and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which has authority to own vehicles, to assign the use of a forfeited vehicle to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The memorandum of understanding should include an agreement with the investigative organization that the USAO will be responsible for providing only normal daily upkeep of the vehicle, such as gas, oil, and routine maintenance. The USAO shall be liable for the costs of any and all repairs as a result of any accident for which the USAO is legally responsible.

A copy of the written memorandum of understanding for the assignment of the vehicle must be submitted with a sufficient justification to FMSS, including a comparison of monthly cost for rental of GSA Motor Pool vehicles or commercial vehicles; reimbursement for use of employees' personally owned vehicles (POV); anticipated savings to be realized in the USAO travel budget; and description of the vehicles to be assigned.

All such requests should be submitted to the Assistant Director, Facilities Management and Support Services staff. Questions concerning such requests may be directed to FMSS at (202) 616-6425.

[updated August 1999] [cited in USAM 3-13.232]