Robert Mertens is serving a 37-year term in federal prison for drug trafficking, firearms violations and money laundering - he's been behind bars since 2004 - but it's taken until now for all appeals and asset forfeiture proceedings in the case to be completed. As a result, today the Idaho State Police got a check for $456,446, and the Coeur d'Alene Police Department will get one for $18,630. ... Mertens was convicted of 11 federal counts including conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, distribution of cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute heroin; a federal jury found that from 1995 to 2003, he regularly sold drugs from his Coeur d'Alene business, Northwest Coin & Jewelry, his homes in Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint, and a flea market in Sagle/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (Eye On Boise photo/Betsy Russell: U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson and ISP Col. Jerry Russell at a news conference in Boise this morning)
Question: Is it right for law agencies to seize and later benefit from assets of convicted drug dealers?