Drug task force to hold annual auction

These vehicles were among the items on sale at Lancaster County Drug Task Force's 21st annual auction in 2011. The merchandise sold at the event was confiscated from drug dealers. Proceeds from the auction are used to pay salaries, education and other training for task force members. 

The Lancaster County Drug Task Force’s annual public auction — which traditionally would be held this weekend — will not take place today at Lancaster County Central Park.

Instead, multiple online auctions are being held throughout the year as the previous one-day auction has taken on a new format.

A message posted at the Lancaster County district attorney’s office Friday said there will not be a one-day auction this year.

“However, items are still available at bi-monthly auctions with online bidding available,” the message states.

Online auctions already took place in February and April.

The next one is scheduled for June 12 and is advertised to have more than 400 units.

A link from the district attorney’s website sends people to Manheim (www.manheim.com), where instructions lead to the Manheim Keystone Pennsylvania public auction.

District attorney spokesman Brett Hambright said the change is partially logistical.

Instead of a one-day event that was staffed and run by the office’s detectives and staff, the new format will be six online auctions throughout the year run by Manheim Keystone Pennsylvania, he said.

“That way, it takes very little of the (Drug Task Force) detectives’ time, so they can focus on their daily duties,” he said.

Another advantage, according to Hambright, is the online format will reach more bidders/buyers over a single in-person auction.

That incentive to reach more people by going through an established auction has led many state and local agencies to this format in recent years, Sal Cuomo, general manager at Manheim Keystone Pennsylvania said.

Manheim, a subsidiary of Cox Automotive, has several auction houses throughout the state, but only Manheim Keystone, its Grantville location, has auctions that are open to the public, Cuomo said. All other auctions are only for licensed dealers.

And depending on the volume of inventory for sale, the public auctions can attract anywhere from 500 to 800 people, with several hundred participants joining in by video from around the world, he said.

In addition, they act as a full-service Department of Motor Vehicles location during auction days. Customers can buy a vehicle, transfer the title to their name and drive away with all of the legally required tags, he said.

The public auctions are not limited to vehicles; miscellaneous items such as jewelry are also for sale, Cuomo said.

“Everything, to include non-vehicle items, will be going through this auction format, for the time being,” Hambright said.