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10-57.  Search warrant;  issuance and return;  process;  confiscation of property;  forfeitures.  

If a peace officer of this State or any duly authorized officer or employee of the Department has reason to believe that any violation of this Act has occurred and that the person violating the Act has in that person's possession any tobacco products or vending device containing tobacco products, that peace officer or officer or employee of the Department may file or cause to be filed his or her complaint in writing, verified by affidavit, with any court within whose jurisdiction the premises to be searched are situated, stating the facts upon which the belief is founded, the premises to be searched, and the property to be seized, and procure a search warrant and execute that warrant.  Upon the execution of the search warrant, the peace officer, or officer or employee of the Department, executing the search warrant shall make due return of the warrant to the court issuing the warrant, together with an inventory of the property taken under the warrant.  The court must then issue process against the owner of the property if the owner is known;  otherwise, process must be issued against the person in whose possession the property is found, if that person is known.  In case of inability to serve process upon the owner or the person in possession of the property at the time of its seizure, notice of the proceedings before the court must be given in the same manner as required by the law governing cases of attachment.  Upon the return of the process duly served or upon the posting or publishing of notice made, as appropriate, the court or jury, if a jury is demanded, shall proceed to determine whether or not the property so seized was held or possessed in violation of this Act.  If a violation is found, judgment shall be entered confiscating the property and forfeiting it to the State and ordering its delivery to the Department.  In addition, the court may tax and assess the costs of the proceedings.

When any tobacco products or any vending devices are declared forfeited to the State by any court and the confiscated and forfeited property is delivered to the Department, the Department shall sell the property for the best price obtainable and shall forthwith pay over the proceeds of the sale to the State Treasurer.  If the value of the property to be sold at any one time is $500 or more, however, the property shall be sold only to the highest and best bidder on terms and conditions, and on open competitive bidding after public advertisement, in a manner and for terms as the Department, by rule, may prescribe.

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