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Washington — The Justice Department says it’s postponing payments to local law enforcement agencies who participate in the federal asset forfeiture program.

The move comes after Congress recently took $1.2 billion from the department’s asset forfeiture fund as part of budget maneuvering.

Under the program, the Justice Department lets local law enforcement share proceeds of seized assets from investigations in which they participated.

The Justice Department says it’s not suspending or shutting down the program — just that it doesn’t have the money to pay police departments right now.

A letter to local law enforcement agencies this week says the Justice Department could “resume its sharing on some or all of the deferred payments if there are sufficient funds in the budget.”

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