Gold and Diamond Grill
A grill is a decorative mouthpiece that fits over teeth. They are custom made with dental molds. This gold and diamond grill is unused, remains on its mold, and was purchased with illicit drug proceeds. It was seized by DEA agents in 2004 using asset forfeiture, a law enforcement tool that attacks the financial structure of drug trafficking and money laundering groups.
Forfeiture refers to the government taking or seizing property that was used or obtained in violation of the law. Assets subject to seizure by DEA include cars, cash, real estate, or anything of value used to commit a drug crime or bought with illicit drug proceeds. The Department of Justice oversees the Asset Forfeiture Program. AFP helps law enforcement disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations by taking away crime’s profits. Every cash seizure or frozen bank account makes it harder for drug organizations to operate, especially after members are imprisoned.
DEA agents frequently seize jewelry and other valuable accessories purchased by drug traffickers, dealers, and rogue doctors and pharmacists. Diamond-encrusted chains and weapons represent their wealth and power and are often used to intimidate others. The DEA Museum displays some of these items, including two guns from the capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the imprisoned former head of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Click here to view this artifact’s episode of “Stories from the Collection,” a monthly video series on the DEA Museum’s most exciting objects.