Cash is king in the criminal underworld. It is used by illegal weapons, drugs, and human traffickers every day. Yet, law enforcement agencies run into countless challenges managing seized evidence.
Cataloguing & Storage
The average Police Department doesn’t have all the latest software running on the biggest hard drives with the best computer-detectives working around the clock. They don’t have access to databases of recent currency activity related to ongoing criminal investigations. They have evidence rooms, copy machines, glue, tape, staplers, hole-punches, and binders. Some still have fax machines.
Federal field offices face a similar technology dilemma. Antiquated, disparate networks often keep vital information at arm’s length away from the investigators who need it most.
The current system for law enforcement to log currency into a criminal case is to line up each bill facing the same direction, arranged by denomination, so each serial number is visible, face-down on a copy machine. Those copies get delivered to an administrative assistant who hand-enters each serial number, denomination, and case number, into a spreadsheet.
Prosecutors rely on accurate evidence and chain of custody. One clerical error can blow an entire case for a high-profile drug bust or cartel money laundering case.
Scanning quantities will be determined by hardware limitations but typical scanners that will interface with CTT’s software accurately scan dozens of bills per second and CTT’s network can store limitless amounts of data, making it possible for all agencies to create an immutable chain of custody for any number of bills scanned in a fraction of the time used by the current system.
Modern currency scanners get designed for financial and banking markets, where detecting counterfeits is a priority. CTT’s software will dive deeper into detection techniques to support the needs of the law enforcement community.
Initial scans determine what a standard validator will: proper size, ink, and materials. Ultraviolet, infrared, and visible light scans can also provide detailed information about the bill leaving a meta-data trail for agencies. CTT’s software will compare the bill against a national US Department of Treasury database to be sure the serial number is legitimate. Their network will compare counterfeit data to make future busts easier by recognizing and predicting patterns.
Tracking Buy Money
Tracking currency for illegal activity hasn’t changed much since the introduction of dye-packs. If you haven’t seen how it works, money gets logged as “buy money” for undercover agents to use in a sting operation. The agents give the criminals the cash in exchange for whatever product they’re pushing ranging from fentanyl to children to guns.
A month later, if police find that money in a drug bust across town, there’s a connection that investigators can go on between the two events.
Even stand-alone, non-networked systems have made an enormous difference at a local level for law enforcement agencies and state prosecutors. But most local law enforcement departments don’t have the workforce or budget to justify all the effort.
Our nation faces a significant need to overhaul the legacy technology environments that currently support every link in the chain of justice, from crime-fighting and investigating to prosecuting and incarcerating. CTT offers a critical solution for law enforcement and national security in tracking currency to solve or detect crime.