United States v. Real Property 10338 Marcy Road Northwest Canal Winchester, No. 18-3347 (6th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Winston completed a prison sentence in 2009. He lived with his sister for 29 months, working at a call center and opening a hauling business. He purchased a car in 2010. With a VA loan, he purchased the Cummington Road home in 2011. He paid taxes, remodeled, and spent money on living expenses. In 2012, he contracted to purchase the Marcy Road Property for $36,500 and made four cash payments totaling $26,500. The seller considered the Property paid-for and was willing to provide a quitclaim deed, The Property was never deeded to Winston. In 2010, while operating his legitimate business, Winston became involved in a large-scale marijuana trafficking conspiracy. He spent at least $62,091 on warehouse rent and equipment and paid an associate $25,000, He purchased a van with $6,875 of drug proceeds. In 2013, after surveillance of his warehouses and a search of Cummington Road, Winston was charged with drug crimes under 21 U.S.C. 846, and money laundering, 18 U.S.C. 1956(a)(1)(B)(i). He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 135 months’ imprisonment. He did not disclose his interest in Marcy Road. The government became aware of that interest and filed a civil forfeiture action under 21 U.S.C. 881(a)(6), alleging that Winston purchased the Property with proceeds traceable to drug sales. The government presented testimony about Winston’s expenses and drug trafficking activities and his legitimate income from 2009–2012: $169,132. The Sixth Circuit affirmed that the Marcy Property is subject to civil forfeiture. The Government demonstrated, by a preponderance of the evidence, a substantial connection between the money used to purchase the Property and Winston's illegal drug sales proceeds.