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United States v. $5

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

September 1, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
$5, 500.00 in U.S. Currency, Defendant.

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, DEFAULT JUDGMENT, AND ORDER OF FORFEITURE

          ''SUSAN P. WATTERS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is brought before this Court by Plaintiff, United States, by and through its attorney, Victoria L. Francis, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana. The United States has filed a Motion for Entry of Default Judgment and Order of Forfeiture pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). Upon considering the pleadings filed herein, the Court makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. On December 7, 2016, the United States instituted a judicial forfeiture action by filing in this cause a Verified Complaint in Rem against the defendant funds in the amount of $5, 500.00, to forfeit property under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 881(a)(6) asserting the defendant currency was furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for a controlled substance, and/or was used or intended to be used to facilitate one or more violations of 21 U.S.C. § 841, et seq . (Doc. 1, para. 15 and 16)

         2. On January 10, 2017, the United States Marshal Service executed the Warrant of Arrest in Rem that was issued by this Court on December 27, 2016, and arrested the defendant funds. (Doc. 5).

         3. On December 9, 2016, the United States provided "actual notice" of this forfeiture action by personally serving of a copy of the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Verified Complaint in Rem on Jesse James Meyers at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility, 3165 King Ave. E., Billings, Montana, as authorized by the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions, Rule G(4)(b)(v). (Doc. 3).

         4. Notice of this forfeiture action was also provided to known and unknown potential claimants by publishing on the government's asset forfeiture website the Notice of Forfeiture Action for 30 consecutive days, beginning on December 14, 2016, and ending on January 12, 2017. The "Notice of Forfeiture Action" provides in pertinent part as follows:

Any person claiming a legal interest in the Defendant Property must file a verified Claim with the court within 60 days from the first day of publication (December 14, 2016) of this Notice on this official government internet web site and an Answer to the complaint or motion under Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure within 21 days thereafter....

(Dec. of Publication, Doc. 7, Att. 1).

         5. Upon considering the United States' Motion for Entry of Default of Known Potential Claimant (Doc. 8), the Clerk of District Court entered the default of Jesse James Meyers, on January 25, 2017, for failure to timely file a verified claim and/or to answer or otherwise defend as required by the Supplemental Rules. (Doc. 11).

         6. Upon considering the United States' Motion for Entry of Default of Unknown Claimants (Doc. 12), the Clerk of District Court entered the default of any unknown potential claimants on April 12, 2017, for failure to timely file a verified claim and/or to answer or otherwise defend as required by the Supplemental Rules. (Doc. 14).

         7. The factual allegations set forth in paragraphs 4 through 13, Doc. 1 are verified by Michael T. Zidack, Special Agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (Doc. 1, pp. 2-6)

         Based upon the foregoing findings of fact, the Court makes the following conclusions of law.

         CONCLUSIONS ...


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