Federal prosecutors in Kansas have been working hard to keep money seized from a vehicle containing the proceeds of an illegal drug deal in Kansas City, Missouri.
In a motion to dismiss filed in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas said it will not pursue forfeiture of $165,620 seized by a Dickinson County, Kansas, sheriff’s deputy last year after he stopped a vehicle on Interstate 70 for a traffic violation.
U.S. District Judge Holly L. Teeter granted the motion and dismissed the case Tuesday, meaning the money seized in Kansas will now be returned.
Prosecutors’ brief, five-sentence motion did not say why they decided to dismiss the case. A. Danielle Thomas, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office, said the office had no information on the dismissal.
Officials with Empyreal Logistics, the weapons trucking company that handled the vehicle, could not be reached for comment. Lawyers for the company did not return requests for comment.
Legal experts were confused by the state’s forfeiture process, which falls into a gray area that includes substances that are legal in Missouri but legal in Kansas and at the state level.
Prosecutors authorized the seizure on the grounds that the proceeds could be traced to sales that violated the federal Securities and Exchange Act. Although an increasing number of states have legalized the drug as a medical or recreational drug, the drug remains a Schedule I drug under the Federal Control Act.
And marijuana is illegal in Kansas, where the truck ended up.
But the proceeds from the sale of prescription drugs in Missouri have been legal since 2018, when voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize the medical use of the drug.
Empyreal Logistics’ truck is transporting money to a credit union in Colorado. Empyreal strongly resisted the expropriation, and later filed a lawsuit alleging that law enforcement officials acted improperly in seizing the money, and that the money was seized by the feds after the traffic stop. and Empyreal in California.
Empyreal said that federal and state law enforcement agencies are targeting its armored vehicles “because it is very convenient for law enforcement agencies to seize the money that Empyreal is transporting and to keep it.” money using amnesty.”
The indictment accused the two state agents of working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct “front transactions” of Empyreal’s vehicles, seizing their accounts and diverting the money to the federal law on extortion.
Under its equitable sharing program, the federal government shares assets seized in civil forfeitures with local law enforcement agencies.
Civil forfeiture cases allow the government to seize property that cannot be accessed through civil forfeiture proceedings. Common examples are the assets of criminals living outside the United States, including terrorists and refugees.
In April, the state agreed to return $1.1 million taken from Empyreal vehicles in California. In return, Empyreal agreed to drop its lawsuit, although the forfeiture action is still pending in Kansas.
Because the cases in California and Kansas have similar fact patterns, the state’s return of the money seized in California indicates that the Kansas case will be resolved in a similar fashion.