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UNITED STATES v. $ 59

March 18, 1997

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
$ 59,074.00 in U.S. Currency, Defendant, Anthony Parker, Claimant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BROTMAN

 BROTMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

 This is a civil forfeiture action instituted by the United States Government (the "Government"). The Government seeks the forfeiture of $ 59,074 upon an allegation that the money is "proceeds traceable to the exchange of a controlled substance" punishable by more than one year's imprisonment. A claim to the currency has been filed by Anthony Parker. Presently before the Court is a motion by claimant Parker for: 1) dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that it fails to state a civil forfeiture claim with the requisite particularity; and 2) immediate return of the money.

 I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

 This action arises out of the seizure of currency over two and a half years ago. The Government and claimant agree that the seizure took place on or about September 8, 1994, in Haddon Township, New Jersey.

 The Government states in its complaint that Parker was stopped by Haddon Township patrolman Scott Bishop while operating a 1993 GMC Typhoon sport/utility vehicle. Parker asserts that he and a passenger, Terrence Pinckney, were refueling at a service station, and that Bishop walked up to the vehicle after noticing that one of its two license plates was missing.

 The Government and Parker agree that during the encounter, Pinckney dropped a bag which contained what appeared to the officer to be, and was subsequently determined to be, marijuana. Parker states that Bishop had asked Pinckney to exit the vehicle and produce identification, and that a "clear plastic baggie containing a small amount of marijuana" fell to the ground from Pinckney's pocket while he was retrieving his driver's license. Bishop placed Pinckney under arrest. Parker states that the arrest was for possession of marijuana.

 During this time, Parker placed a call to his mother, Carolyn James, who subsequently arrived at the service station. James told Parker that he could consent to a search of the vehicle. The search resulted in Bishop's seizure of the $ 59,074 in currency from the back seat. Parker states that the money was in a gym bag.

 Claimant asserts, and the Government does not dispute, that the currency was turned over to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and deposited into an account at the county treasury. On or about December 13, 1994, the Honorable G. Donald Haneke, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey, signed a warrant authorizing the Government to seize the currency. Parker states that the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, together with the Drug Enforcement Agency ("DEA"), conducted an "adoptive seizure" whereby they executed the warrant upon the Camden County Treasurer's account. *fn1"

 " The United States of America, acting by and through its attorney, Faith S. Hochberg, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and Yvette Mouton, Assistant United States Attorney, respectfully states as follows:

 JURISDICTION AND VENUE

 1. This is a civil action in rem brought to enforce the provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6)[,] which provides for the forfeiture of all proceeds traceable to monies furnished or intended to be furnished by any person in exchange for a controlled substance in violation of Title II of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq.

 2. Jurisdiction is vested in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1345 and 1355.

 3. This Court has venue in this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1395, in that the defendant currency is now and during the pendency of this action will be in the jurisdiction of this Court.

 4. The defendant is United States Currency in the amount of $ 59,074.00 (hereinafter 'defendant currency').

 5. On or about May 17, 1995, Anthony Parker (hereinafter 'Parker'), filed a Certification Contesting Seizure of Property and Declaration and Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.

 6. No other Claims have been filed by any other potential claimants.

 FACTS

 1. On or about September 8, 1994, Parker was stopped by Haddon Township Police Patrolman Scott Bishop for a traffic violation while he was operating a 1993 GMC Typhoon, New Jersey, [sic] license plate number ADB3455, registered to Carolyn D. James, 2842 Pierce Avenue, Camden, New Jersey.

 2. A Check of New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles record identified ten (10) vehicles registered in the name of Carolyn D. James (hereinafter "James")[.]

 3. During the traffic stop, Parker's passenger, who identified himself as Timothy Rangel, but who was subsequently identified as Terrence Pinckney (hereinafter "Pinckney"), dropped a bag which contained what appeared to Patrolman Bishop to be, and was subsequently determined to be, marijuana. Pinckney was immediately placed under arrest.

 4. During this time, Parker placed a call to his mother, Carolyn D. James[,] who arrived on the scene during the vehicle stop.

 5. James advised Parker that he could consent to a search of the vehicle. Thereafter, Parker signed a consent to search form[,] and the subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of defendant currency in United States Currency from the passenger's compartment.

 6. Parker advised Patrolman Bishop that the currency belonged to a fried of Parkers' [sic]. However, Parker could not remember his friend's name, only that his friend owned a recording studio in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Parker also told Patrolman Bishop that he and Pinckney were on their way to Glassboro at the time of the traffic stop.

 7. Investigation of Anthony Parker has revealed no apparent employment and no legitimate means of income.

 8. Investigation of Terrence Pinckney has revealed no apparent employment and no legitimate means of income.

 9. Parker has a previous drug arrest and was the victim of a drug related ...


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