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Feds Seeking to Forfeit $650k Seized from Driver During Traffic Stop in Pennsylvania

pexels-darius-krause-2253938-300x200Pennsylvania police reportedly seized $650,000 from a driver on interstate 80. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is now requesting to seize the money using civil asset forfeiture, though the money is reportedly the property of a California business.

The driver was reportedly transporting the money for her boss, the owner of a CBD company known as Superior Bio Science. She was pulled over for committing a moving violation on November 24th near Williamsport.

According to the officer’s report, when he approached the vehicle, he observed the driver and her passenger’s hands to be shaking as they handed over their identification. The driver had rented the Chevy Impala at LaGuardia Airport in New York on the previous day, sources indicate.

According to the rental schedule, the vehicle needed to be returned to San Francisco International Airport 48 hours later. However, when questioned about their destination, the driver reportedly claimed to be traveling to Illinois, while the passenger said they were going to Pennsylvania. According to the officer, the passenger’s face was twitching while answering this question. He reportedly grew suspicious over the misleading destinations, along with the trembling and twitching facial cues.

The driver reportedly told the officer that the vehicle contained no illegal drugs and that the only money in the car was $20 in her possession. However, when the driver allegedly consented to a search of the vehicle’s trunk, $650,160 in cash was found. The money was stuffed into two shopping bags and a cereal box, according to the officer. The driver purportedly claimed the money belonged to her boss.

A further search of the vehicle led to the discovery of a plastic bag that smelled of marijuana. Officers brought a drug-sniffing dog for confirmation of the presence of any drugs, but it is unclear if the dog identified any drugs in the vehicle.

The driver provided the officer with her boss’ contact number to verify the ownership of the money, press sources indicate. The boss allegedly admitted his ownership of the cash and told the officer that it was being delivered to California. He stated that it is not illegal to transport money and that his lawyer would sort out the matter before hanging up, the report said.

Federal officers are now investigating the case further and seeking to seize the money. A forfeiture petition was filed in the U.S. Middle District Court in Harrisburg by Acting U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler. He requested Chief Judge John E. Jones III to order the seized cash to be forfeited over to the government.

Brandler claims the money is somehow related to drug trafficking. He stated the seized cash had gone through an ion scan in December and traces of cocaine and Oxycontin were detected. He is using the results of the scan as grounds for further investigation by federal law enforcement agencies.

Pennsylvania, along with 35 other states, allow law enforcement to keep a large portion of the money they seize using civil forfeiture. Only seven states and the District of Columbia prohibit law enforcement agencies from keeping any of the money they confiscate. A law in 2017 raised the burden of proof required to seize property in the state of Pennsylvania, but it is still below the standard in federal criminal forfeiture cases.

Anyone who has had their property seized by law enforcement during a traffic stop should immediately consult an attorney. It is not illegal to travel with large sums of cash. With the help of a civil forfeiture attorney, victims of forfeiture have a chance to get their lawful property back.

Nationwide Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture Attorney

Has law enforcement taken your property using civil forfeiture? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation and get the assistance of a nationwide federal civil asset forfeiture attorney.

Source: Feds go after $650K in cash seized from ‘trembling’ driver after traffic stop on I-80.pdf

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