More than $400,000 in assets seized from Maryland margarine heiress Sandra Filbert Amos, found guilty of cocaine conspiracy and possession last year, have turned into a windfall for four police agencies that helped convict her.
Amos, 36, an heiress to the Filbert Margarine fortune who lived in Easton on the Eastern Shore, is serving a 14-year sentence at a U.S. prison in Lexington, Ky., after being convicted by a federal jury.
Prosecutors argued that she played a key role in setting up her former boyfriend and admitted drug smuggler Jeremiah Dennis Case with local cocaine distributors.
The sale of assets, including a house and two cars seized by the U.S. government after Amos was convicted, means $438,632 will be distributed to the Easton police, the Talbot County sheriff, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland State Police.
Amos's property, a five-acre waterfront parcel, was sold for $595,000 in August. Her 1972 350 SL convertible Mercedes and a 1952 MG also were seized and sold by federal authorities.
Easton Police Chief R. Edward Blessing said his department's share of the money will be used in drug investigations.
"I use that dirty money to get other dirty money -- to buy drugs and to pay informants," Blessing said. "The drug dealers are paying me to find other drug dealers."
Talbot Sheriff John J. Ellerbusch said he may use some of the money to offset a 5 percent budget shortfall. Every Talbot agency faces a similar cut, because the county is anticipating a $2.7 million revenue shortfall this year.
Ellerbusch said he may purchase an off-road vehicle with special video and surveillance equipment.
Asset forfeiture in Maryland was made possible by legislation passed in 1989.