(a) The following shall be subject to forfeiture:
(1) All controlled substances which have been manufactured, distributed, dispensed, or acquired in violation of the provisions of this Article;
(2) All money, raw material, products, and equipment of any kind which are acquired, used, or intended for use, in selling, purchasing, manufacturing, compounding, processing, delivering, importing, or exporting a controlled substance in violation of the provisions of this Article;
(3) All property which is used, or intended for use, as a container for property described in subdivisions (1) and (2);
(4) All conveyances, including vehicles, vessels, or aircraft, which are used or intended for use to unlawfully conceal, convey, or transport, or in any manner to facilitate the unlawful concealment, conveyance, or transportation of property described in (1) or (2), except that
a. No conveyance used by any person as a common carrier in the transaction of business as a common carrier shall be forfeited under the provisions of this Article unless it shall appear that the owner or other person in charge of such conveyance was a consenting party or privy to a violation of this Article;
b. No conveyance shall be forfeited under the provisions of this section by reason of any act or omission, committed or omitted while such conveyance was unlawfully in the possession of a person other than the owner in violation of the criminal laws of the United States, or of any state;
c. No conveyance shall be forfeited unless the violation involved is a felony under this Article;
d. A forfeiture of a conveyance encumbered by a bona fide security interest is subject to the interest of the secured party who had no knowledge of or consented to the act or omission.
(5) All books, records, and research, including formulas, microfilm, tapes, and data which are used, or intended for use, in violation of this Article.
(b) Any property subject to forfeiture under this Article may be seized by any law-enforcement officer upon process issued by any district or superior court having jurisdiction over the property except that seizure without such process may be made when:
(1) The seizure is incident to an arrest or a search under a search warrant;
(2) The property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the State in a criminal injunction or forfeiture proceeding under this Article.
(c) Property taken or detained under this section shall not be repleviable, but shall be deemed to be in custody of the law-enforcement agency seizing it, which may:
(1) Place the property under seal; or,
(2) Remove the property to a place designated by it; or,
(3) Request that the North Carolina Department of Justice take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location for disposition in accordance with law.
Any property seized by a State, local, or county law enforcement officer shall be held in safekeeping as provided in this subsection until an order of disposition is properly entered by the judge.
(d) Whenever property is forfeited under this Article, the law-enforcement agency having custody of it may:
(1) Retain the property for official use; or
(2) Sell any forfeited property which is not required to be destroyed by law and which is not harmful to the public, provided that the proceeds be disposed of for payment of all proper expenses of the proceedings for forfeiture and sale including expense of seizure, maintenance of custody, advertising, and court costs; or
(3) Transfer any conveyance including vehicles, vessels, or aircraft which are forfeited under the provisions of this Article to the North Carolina Department of Justice when, in the discretion of the presiding judge and upon application of the North Carolina Department of Justice, said conveyance may be of official use to the North Carolina Department of Justice;
(4) Upon determination by the director of any law-enforcement agency that a vehicle, vessel or aircraft transferred pursuant to the provisions of this Article is of no further use to said agency for use in official investigations, such vehicle, vessel or aircraft may be sold as surplus property in the same manner as other vehicles owned by the law-enforcement agency and the proceeds from such sale after deducting the cost of sale shall be paid to the treasurer or proper officer authorized to receive fines and forfeitures to be used for the school fund of the county in the county in which said vehicle, vessel or aircraft was seized; provided, that any vehicle transferred to any law-enforcement agency under the provisions of this Article which has been modified to increase speed shall be used in the performance of official duties only and not for resale, transfer or disposition other than as junk.
(d1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (d), the law-enforcement agency having custody of money that is forfeited pursuant to this section shall pay it to the treasurer or proper officer authorized to receive fines and forfeitures to be used for the school fund of the county in which the money was seized.
(e) All substances included in Schedules I through VI that are possessed, transferred, sold, or offered for sale in violation of the provisions of this Article shall be deemed contraband and seized and summarily forfeited to the State. All substances included in Schedules I through VI of this Article which are seized or come into the possession of the State, the owners of which are unknown, shall be deemed contraband and summarily forfeited to the State according to rules and regulations of the North Carolina Department of Justice.
All species of plants from which controlled substances included in Schedules I, II and VI of this Article may be derived, which have been planted or cultivated in violation of this Article, or of which the owners or cultivators are unknown, or which are wild growths, may be seized and summarily forfeited to the State.
The failure, upon demand by the Attorney General of North Carolina, or his duly authorized agent, of the person in occupancy or in control of land or premises upon which such species of plants are growing or being stored, to produce an appropriate registration, or proof that he is the holder thereof, shall constitute authority for the seizure and forfeiture.
(f) All other property subject to forfeiture under the provisions of this Article shall be forfeited as in the case of conveyances used to conceal, convey, or transport intoxicating beverages. (1971, c. 919, s. 1; 1973, cc. 447, 542; c. 1446, s. 6; 1983, c. 528, ss. 1-3; 1989, c. 772, s. 4.)