Civil forfeiture has enjoyed a long and varied history in both the United States and England, and has been the primary means by which government has attempted to protect its income from violations of customs and revenue laws. It has also been used as a means of enforcing consumer protection laws, most particularly those contained in various food and drug acts. Civil forfeiture has even played a part in furthering America's foreign policy aims, putting teeth in the nation's several attempts to enforce neutrality or embargo acts.'

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