Oklahoma representative planning amendment to help pay for US border wall

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OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma representative says that an amendment he plans to author will help pay for a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

On Thursday, Oklahoma Rep. Bobby Cleveland announced that he plans to author an amendment that would divert money from civil asset forfeiture seizures to help pay for construction of a border wall between the countries.

Under current law, Oklahoma law enforcement agencies can seize property that was suspected of being used in criminal activity. If the owner cannot prove their innocence, the money that is seized usually stays with the agency who took it.

“This money is drug money,” Rep. Cleveland said. “The vast majority of it is either coming from Mexico or headed there. By redirecting this cash to construction efforts, Mexico will be paying for the wall just as promised.”

Last year, law enforcement agencies spoke up about a controversial bill that would put seized property in a state fund.

Many law enforcement agencies opposed that bill, saying money recovered during drug busts is used for public safety programs and to fight crime.

“We use this money to buy computers and cars and dogs,” Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West told NewsChannel 4 last year.

At the time, West said that taking money from law enforcement agencies, especially during a budget shortfall, would put public safety in jeopardy.

Rep. Cleveland says he plans to broach the subject with the House of Representatives soon and hopes to have an amendment added onto a bill before the end of the current legislative session.