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United States v. $12

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

April 5, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
$12, 950.00 in U.S. Currency, Defendant.

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

          Brian Morris United States District Court Judge.

         Plaintiff United States of America has moved for an entry of Default Judgment and Order of Forfeiture pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2) and 56(a). (Doc. 14.) The Court makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. On December 21, 2017, the United States instituted a judicial forfeiture action by filing in this cause a Verified Complaint in Rem against the Defendant currency in the amount of $12, 950.00, 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.)

         2. On January 8, 2018, the Homeland Security Investigations executed the Warrant of Arrest in Rem that was issued by this Court on January 5, 2018, and arrested the defendant currency. (Doc. 5.)

         3. On December 28, 2017, the United States provided “direct notice” of this civil asset forfeiture action, by mailing the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Verified Complaint In Rem (Doc. 3) to Robert David Linn, to the address of the correctional facility where he was ordered to serve his sentence, and to Craig W. Frazier, via first class U.S. mail and Certified mail, to the address he provided in his administrative claim. (See Doc. 11.)

         4. On January 10, 2018, Craig W. Frazier filed an answer and motion declaring he has no interest in the $12, 950 in U.S. currency and no objection to summary judgment on behalf of the United States related to the Defendant currency. (Doc. 6, p. 2.)

         5. In United States v. Robert David Linn, CR 17-31-GF-BMM, Linn executed a Plea Agreement, filed with the Court in CR 17-31-GF-BMM as Doc. 16, which provides on page 3 that Defendant Linn agrees to disclaim any interest in any drug trafficking proceeds that the United States seeks to forfeit.

         6. 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 January 6, 2018, and ending on February 4, 2018. 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 (January 6, 2018) 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. 8, Att. 1.)

         7. Upon considering the United States' Motion for Entry of Default of Known Potential Claimant, Robert David Linn, and Unknown Potential Claimants (Doc. 9) and Amended Declaration filed in support of the motion (Doc. 11), the Clerk of District Court entered the default of Robert David Linn, and any unknown potential claimants, on March 8, 2018, for failure to timely file a verified claim and/or to answer or otherwise defend as required by the Supplemental Rules. (Doc. 12.)

         8. The factual allegations set forth in paragraphs 4 through 37, of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem are verified by Tavia Hulme, Special Agent ...


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