Crime

What does drug forfeiture money go toward in Centre County? DA makes reports public

District Attorney Bernie Cantorna announced Thursday that annual drug forfeiture reports would be made public.
District Attorney Bernie Cantorna announced Thursday that annual drug forfeiture reports would be made public. Centre Daily Times, file

The Centre County district attorney announced a “significant change in policy” Thursday when he made annual drug forfeiture reports public.

“If we are going to hold public officials accountable, we must have transparency,” District Attorney Bernie Cantorna said. “Currently, the Centre County District Attorney’s Office has over $500,000 available for prevention and enforcement of Pennsylvania drug laws.”

The money in the drug forfeiture account comes from drug-related arrests. Money and other assets seized during the arrest are then turned over to the DA’s office for management.

An annual audit is required, but no procedures or guidelines exist in making the reports public. The reports are available from 2013 through 2017.

“The public has a right to know how public monies are being used,” Cantorna said.

Examples include a $100,000 donation in May 2017 to the county’s drug court program, nearly $25,000 for equipment purchases from Best Buy in December and $3,175 for five police officers to participate in a homicide investigation training in April.

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