Two days before Robert Russell allegedly ordered two men to collect on a debt for him in east Lewis County, which left three people dead and one critically wounded, the career criminal appeared in Centralia Municipal Court for a hearing on $11,320 that was seized from him in a May arrest.
In court, the hearings officer determined the cash was seized in accordance to evidence that it had been furnished in exchange for a controlled substance. Russell’s money was forfeited to the Centralia Police Department.
On Monday, Russell forfeited $12,780 and a 1999 Dodge Dakota pickup for failing to request a hearing on the seizure within 45 days following a June arrest.
"He did not file a claim for those items within the specified time frame," Centralia Police Department Chief Bob Berg said.
In the past eight days, Russell has officially lost $24,100 to the Centralia Police Department - not counting the Dodge pickup. That amounts to about two-thirds of the total money - $35,000 - that has been forfeited to the police department following arrests made this year, in accordance with the state’s uniform controlled substances act.
Russell could appeal the forfeitures, Berg said. But he would have to appear in Lewis County Superior Court to do so.
Meanwhile, the police department will use the drug money to stymie drug activity in the city.
"This money goes into a separate fund, not the (city’s) general fund," Berg said. "It’s using the criminals’ money against them."
Copyright (c) 2010, The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash.