U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato joined members of the Port Washington Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.) earlier this week to announce that the PWPD has received $2 million in federal asset forfeiture funds stemming from the success of a major money laundering investigation in the New York City and Miami, Florida areas.
Following the close of the investigation, the U.S. Customs Service had intended to share just $903,000 in forfeiture funds with Port Washington. With Senator D'Amato's assistance, Port Washington was able to increase the amount to a more equitable $2 million. The funds will be used for additional drug enforcement and emergency training for officers, the purchase of patrol cars, video equipment, a heart defibrillator for each patrol car, and equipment and supplies for the area's many community drug prevention programs.
"I am proud of the fine police work displayed in this case by the outstanding professionals in the Narcotics unit of our Detective Division, under the capable leadership of Lt. Ronald DeMeo," PWPD Police Chief William Kilfoil said. "I'm also grateful to the agents of the New York D.E.A. as led by group supervisor Nick Nargi. Under his command, the agents had the foresight to ask for assistance from a small municipality such as Port Washington, resulting in the highly successful closure of the case. And without Senator D'Amato's assistance, the Port Washington community would not have received its fair share. For this, the police department is extremely grateful."
"The men and women of the D.E.A. have always relied on professionalism and teamwork from state, county and local police departments. The results of this investigation, and the issuance of this asset forfeiture check, serve to demonstrate that beyond the financial benefits of joint investigations are the professional relationships which will continue to strengthen and form an alliance in the fight against drugs. D.E.A. would like to thank Chief Kilfoil, Lt. DeMeo and detectives Steadman, Steinman and Rasiak for their hard work and dedication," said Lewis Rice, Jr., special agent-in-charge of the New York Division, D.E.A.
Senator D'Amato worked with the Port Washington police to gain an equitable share of funds from Customs by documenting the more than 1,500 man hours of investigative time dedicated to the investigation. The D.E.A.'s New York Field Office, led by Rice, Jr., supported Port Washington's complaint about the unfair allocation, saying Port Washington participated substantially throughout the multi-state investigation.
The PWPD was instrumental in expediting the installation of equipment, and conducting surveillance of the area and consent searches. The investigation led to seizures amounting to $500,000 that was hidden in "gutted" stereos. Information gathered during the New York investigation led to the seizure of drug proceeds in Florida, which were intended to be sent to Colombia.