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Virgin Islands (US). 1984 ‘Seizure and Forfeiture.’ Virgin Islands (US) Code; Title 23, Chapter 5 (Section 487). Charlotte Amalie: Office of the Code Revisor, Legislature of the Virgin Islands (US). 15 June

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23 V.I.C. § 487

(a) The following items of property shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture, and, upon forfeiture, no property right shall exist in them:

1. Any firearm being worn, borne, or transported by any person not authorized pursuant to section 454 of this title, and, therefore, in violation of section 484 of this title.
2. All ammunition or other parts of or appurtenances to any such firearm worn, carried, or transported by such person or found in the immediate vicinity of such firearm.

(b) Any property subject to seizure under subsection (a) of this section may be seized by any duly authorized officer, as an incident to an arrest or search and seizure. Any such officer seizing such property under this section shall either place the property under seal or remove the same to a location designated by the Police Commissioner. Such officer shall, at the time of seizure or as soon as possible thereafter, execute and deliver to the possessor a signed and dated receipt for the item seized.

(c) Upon the seizure of property pursuant to this section, the Attorney General shall be notified thereof by the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department (V.I.P.D.), which Department shall also furnish the name and address of the owner thereof, if known. The Attorney General shall notify the owner by certified mail of the seizure, if the registered owner is not the person from whom the item was seized, and the Attorney General's determination of whether the owner knew or should have known that the property was worn, borne, transported or used without lawful authority under section 454 of this title.

1. If the Attorney General determines that the owner neither knew nor should have known of the unauthorized use or intended unauthorized use of the property, he shall surrender the property upon request to the owner unless he determines that the property is needed as evidence in a pending criminal case, in which event he shall return the property upon the final conclusion of the case or cases in which the property is needed as evidence.
2. If the Attorney General determines that the property should be forfeited to the Government, he shall petition the Superior Court in the name of the Government of the Virgin Islands against the property as designated by make, model, year and serial number or other identifying characteristic. The petition shall allege the seizure and set forth in general terms the causes or grounds of forfeiture. It shall also pray that the property be condemned as forfeited to the Government and disposed of according to law.
3. If the owner or owners of the property are unknown or cannot be found, notice of the seizure and intended forfeiture proceedings shall be made by publication in one or more newspapers published in the District in which the action is brought. The notice shall state the substance and object of the original petition and give notice of the intended forfeiture proceedings.
4. Within 30 days after service of the notice of seizure and intended forfeiture proceedings or within 30 days after the date of publication, the owner of the property seized may file an answer under oath to the petition.
5. The court shall retain custody of the seized property pending prosecution of the person accused of violating section 454 of this title and in case such person be found guilty, the property shall remain in the custody of the court until the hearing on the forfeiture is held. The hearing shall be scheduled no more than 30 days after conviction of the defendant, and reasonable notice shall be given to those parties filing an answer to the petition.
6. If no timely answer is filed, the Court shall hear evidence upon the unauthorized use of the property and shall upon satisfactory proof thereof, order the property forfeited to the Government of the Virgin Islands.
7. At the scheduled hearing, any owner who filed a timely answer may show by competent evidence that the property was not in fact used in violation of section 454 of this title or that he neither knew nor should have known that the property was being, or was to be so used. Upon the determination that the property was not so used, the Court shall order that the property be released to the owner.
8. If after a full hearing the Court decides that the property was used in violation of section 454 of this title or that the owner knew or should have known that the property was being, or was to be so used, the Court shall order that the property be forfeited to the Government of the Virgin Islands.

(d) Whenever property is forfeited under this section, it shall be turned over to the Police Commissioner for immediate destruction in the manner he deems appropriate.

(e) Before disposing of a firearm, as provided in this chapter, the Commissioner shall direct that the class, make, number and caliber of such firearm, as well as the time of receipt of such firearm by the Commissioner and the date of destruction, if any, of same, shall be carefully recorded and filed.

ID: Q9069

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