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Quinn to drug dealers: You get the bill

(Flickr/Kevin Spencer)
A new law takes a creative approach to funding Illinois’ war on drugs: make the drug dealers foot the bill.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed new legislation on Thursday wherein anyone found guilty of "unlawful delivery of a controlled substance" or associate charge will face mandatory, court-imposed restitution and a fine as part of sentencing.

“These new laws help ensure that police departments throughout our state have the resources they need to fight drug and gang activity,” Quinn said in a statement.

Federal funding for police agencies has dropped due to the high cost of decontaminating shuttered methamphetamine production labs. As such some agencies had to cut undercover work and other anti-drug enforcement measures. The new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, is similar to the existing DUI/Accident Personnel Time Report, in which the agency can recover funds used while investigating a DUI crash.

The bill was backed by State Senator Mike Noland (D-Elgin) who said illegal drugs cost law enforcement thousands of dollars each year.

“Our emergency response services should not bear those expenses, nor should Illinois taxpayers,” Nolan said in a statement. “It is time for convicted drug dealers to pay restitution for the work and materials that go into gathering evidence and securing sites left behind by manufacturing controlled substances.”

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