Two Idaho Police Agencies Awarded Seized Money - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Two Idaho Police Agencies Awarded Seized Money

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Two Idaho police agencies have finally been awarded money seized in an arrest they made several years ago.

A former Coeur d'Alene businessman named Robert Mertens has been behind bars since 2004 serving time for drug trafficking, firearms violations and money laundering. More than a million dollars worth of assets were seized during the arrest and now the two Idaho police agencies involver have been awarded some of that money.

After seven years, Idaho State Police will get a check of $456,446, while the Coeur d'Alene Police Department will receive $18,630.

"Any time you receive funding like that it's a plus for the agency," Chief Wayne Longo, Coeur d'Alene Police.

The Coeur d'Alene Police Department says it plans to put it's newly awarded money towards drug education and enforcement. The money awarded by the federal government is put into a fund requiring agencies to use it towards fighting drug crime.

"A good example last year we used money from that fund for a movie in the park nights. We purchased a projector, and a large screen. We were showing movies in the park and were doing character education," said Longo.

Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Wayne Longo says he knew the money would come at some point, and is very happy with how much they received.

"It came as a surprise as far as the amount. We were hoping for a little bit, but it's like anything else until you actually get it. You don't know if it's going to be awarded to you or not," said Longo.

Idaho State Police say their money is going to be used for training and new equipment. They wouldn't get into specifics on what they will buy, but say a lot of their equipment is outdated and needs to be upgraded. Each region in the state will submit requests and that is how money will be divided.

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