U.S. Attorney's Officer Joins Charlotte Habitat For Home Presentation And Dedication Event, Following Successful Transfer Through Operation Goodwill
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray participated in a presentation and dedication event this afternoon, hosted by Charlotte Habitat, during which a selected homeowner was formally presented with a key to a new home constructed by community and law enforcement volunteers. The property onto which the new home was built was previously forfeited to the United States, as part of a 2014 federal criminal prosecution involving drug trafficking and money laundering offenses.
In 2018, the property, which is located in the Hidden Valley community, was transferred to Charlotte Habitat through Operation Goodwill, a federal program designed to assist neighborhood communities impacted by drug trafficking and other violent criminal activity via transfers of federally forfeited properties to state or local governments, designated contractors or transferees, in support of drug abuse treatment, drug and crime prevention and education, housing, job skills, or other community-based public health and safety programs. Charlotte Habitat demolished the old structure and built a new home for a family selected by the organization. This is the second time in the Western District of North Carolina that a federally forfeited property has been transferred to a community partner through the Operation Goodwill program.
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray said, “This property has been transformed from a drug-infested epicenter of criminal activity to a brand new home built for a deserving family. I want to thank all of our law enforcement partners for working with my Office and Charlotte Habitat to complete this project. The new home is a symbol of what we can accomplish when we all work together to support our communities and bring about positive change.”
“For Charlotte Habitat, the house in the Hidden Valley community represents a transition from despair to promise. This is a story of redemption,” said Laura Belcher, Charlotte Habitat President and CEO. “A property that once served as a hub of destruction for so many lives, is now a haven of hope for a hardworking young family. We could not be more pleased to have had the privilege of working with the Department of Justice and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to achieve this end.”
In addition to handling the criminal case, forfeiture action, and administrative matters related to the property, prosecutors and staff with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, deputy U.S. Marshals, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers volunteered at the construction site to help build the new home, alongside Habitat community volunteers. Construction was completed in early May, and the key to the property was formally presented to the selected family at today’s event.
Operation Goodwill was established in 1997 and revised in 2010 to streamline the transfer process. Any designated non-profit organization can apply to participate in the program. To participate, interested organizations are required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Justice. The MOU outlines the specific requirements for the property transfer and provides certain obligations the selected organization must fulfil for a period of five years. Final approval for the property transfer must be granted by the Attorney General of the United States.
Updated May 22, 2019