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United States v. $20

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

April 23, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,, Plaintiff,
v.
$20, 960.00 in U.S. Currency, Defendant.

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, 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 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 February 7, 2019, 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 $20, 960.00, 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. and 881(a)(6). (Doc. 1).

         2. On February 14, 2019, the U.S. Marshal Service executed the Warrant of Arrest in Rem (Doc. 4) that was issued by this Court on February 13, 2019, and arrested the defendant currency. (Doc. 5, USM-285).

         3. On February 12, 2019, the United States provided "actual notice" of this civil asset forfeiture action, by mailing the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem (Doc. 3) and Verified Complaint In Rem (Doc. 1) to Alessandria Huguez and Mathew Anderson, via first class U.S. mail and Certified mail, to the address provided in Ms. Huguez's administrative claim as well as the addresses provided by law enforcement. (See Doc. 8, ex.s 1-6).

         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 February 16, 2019, and ending on March 17, 2019. 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 (February 16, 2019) 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. 6, Att. 1).

         5. Upon considering the United States' Motion for Entry of Default of Known Potential Claimants, Alessandria Huguez and Mathew Anderson, (Doc. 7) and Declaration filed in support of the motion (Doc. 8), the Clerk of District Court entered the default of Alessandria Huguez and Mathew Anderson, on March 22, 2019, for failure to timely file a verified claim and/or to answer or otherwise defend as required by the Supplemental Rules. (Doc. 10).

         6. Upon considering the United States' Motion for Entry of Default of Unknown Potential Claimants, (Doc. 11) and Declaration filed in support of the motion (Doc. 12), the Clerk of District Court entered the default of unknown potential claimants, on April 19, 2019, for failure to timely file a verified claim and/or to answer or otherwise defend as required by the Supplemental Rules. (Doc. 13).

         7. The factual allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 21, of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem are verified by Jeremy Crowther, Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration. (Doc. 1)

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

         CONCLUSIONS ...


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