United States of America v. $76,400.00 in United States Currency, No. 3:2013cv00268 - Document 27 (D. Nev. 2014)

Court Description: Default Judgment of Forfeiture as to Robert Herman Gaskill and Wilcox Automotive, LLC and all Persons or Entities who Claim an Interest in the $76,400.00 in United States Currency and Final Judgment of Forfeiture as to $76,400.00 in United States Currency and Jason Ryan Gordon. Signed by Judge Larry R. Hicks on 5/12/14. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - JC)
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United States of America v. $76,400.00 in United States Currency Doc. 27 Case 3:13-cv-00268-LRH-WGC Document 26-1 Filed 05/09/14 Page 1 of 8 1 DANIEL G. BOGDEN United States Attorney 2 Nevada State Bar No. 2137 Michael A. Humphreys 3 Assistant United States Attorney Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse 4 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 5000 Las Vegas, Nevada 89101 5 Telephone: (702) 388-6336 Facsimile: (702) 388-6787 6 Counsel for Plaintiff 7 8 9 10 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 12 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 13 Plaintiff, 14 v. 15 $76,400.00 IN UNITED STATES 16 CURRENCY, 17 18 19 20 21 Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) 3:13-CV-268-LRH-(WGC) ) ) ) ) ) DEFAULT JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE AS TO AS TO ROBERT HERMAN GASKILL AND WILCOX AUTOMOTIVE, LLC AND ALL PERSONS OR ENTITIES WHO CLAIM AN INTEREST IN THE $76,400.00 IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY AND FINAL JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE AS TO $76,400.00 IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY AND JASON RYAN GORDON 22 I. FACTS 23 1. On December 12, 2012, driver Jason Ryan Gordon was pulled over in a Ford Escape SUV 24 by Nevada State Trooper William Ferguson for a traffic infraction. Robert Gaskill was sitting in the 25 front passenger seat of the SUV. The stop took place near mile marker 20 of Interstate 80 in Nevada. 26 Dockets.Justia.com Case 3:13-cv-00268-LRH-WGC Document 26-1 Filed 05/09/14 Page 2 of 8 1 2. Gordon recognized Trooper Ferguson, stating he had been stopped by him previously 2 when driving a different vehicle. Gordon stated he was driving from Minnesota to Nevada City, 3 California to purchase a car. He said that after that he planned to drive to Oregon to visit his sister. 4 3. Ferguson recalled the earlier traffic stop as well. Ferguson remembered that on September 5 18, 2012, there was a strong odor of marijuana emanating from Gordon’s car. Also at that time he 6 observed vacuum-sealed bags and a vacuum-sealer. Based upon Ferguson’s training and experience 7 these were all indicators that Gordon was involved in the transport of illicit drugs and/or drug-derived 8 proceeds. 9 4. Gordon consented to questioning by Ferguson during his current stop, stated he had 10 approximately $77,000.00 in his car, and invited a search of his SUV. 11 5. A trained narcotics canine performed an exterior search of the vehicle and alerted to the 12 inside of the passenger-side rear door. At this time Gordon gave written consent to search the SUV. 13 Inside of the vehicle was found approximately $7,000.00 in United States Currency in a sock. The 14 remaining $69,400.00 in United States Currency was found inside a duffle bag. The $76,400.00 in 15 United States Currency was wrapped in rubber bands consistent with the manner in which drug 16 couriers package and transport currency derived from drug proceeds. A second trained narcotics 17 canine later alerted to the duffle bag with the currency in it. 18 6. Gordon stated that he planned to buy several cars on the west coast with the currency, 19 transport the vehicles to Minnesota, and sell them. This was inconsistent with his earlier statement that 20 he planned to buy one car for his personal use. Additionally, Gordon and Gaskill had few items of 21 clothing in the vehicle, which is inconsistent with a trip that began in Minnesota and was to end in 22 California and Oregon. 23 II. PROCEDURE 24 7. The United States of America (“United States”) filed a verified Complaint for Forfeiture in 25 Rem on May 22, 2013. Complaint, ECF No. 1. The Complaint (ECF No. 1) alleges the defendant 26 property: 2 Case 3:13-cv-00268-LRH-WGC Document 26-1 Filed 05/09/14 Page 3 of 8 1 a. was furnished or was intended to be furnished in exchange for controlled substances in 2 violation of Title II of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. ' 801 et seq., and is subject to 3 forfeiture to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. ' 881(a)(6). 4 b. is proceeds traceable to exchanges of controlled substances in violation of Title 5 II of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. ' 801 et seq., and is subject to forfeiture to the 6 United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. ' 881(a)(6). 7 c. was used or was intended to be used to facilitate violations of Title II of the 8 Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. ' 801 et seq., and is subject to forfeiture to the United 9 States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. ' 881(a)(6). 10 8. On May 31, 2013, the Court entered an Order for Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem 11 for the Property and Notice and issued the Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem. Order for 12 Summons and Warrant, ECF No. 3; Summons and Warrant, ECF No. 4. 13 9. Pursuant to the Order (ECF No. 3), the Complaint (ECF No. 1), the Order for Summons 14 and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice (ECF No. 3), the Summons and Warrant of 15 Arrest in Rem for the Property (ECF No. 4), and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Arrest 16 (ECF No. 14, p. 3-4, 20-21, 38-39, 54-55, 71-72, ECF No. 14-1, p. 4-5, 21-22, 37-38, and ECF No. 23, 17 p. 11-12) were served on the defendant property and all persons claiming an interest in the defendant 18 property. Notice was published according to law. 19 10. Pursuant to Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture 20 Actions (“Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule”) G(5), all persons interested in the defendant property were 21 required to: (1) file a verified claim, setting forth the person=s or its interest in the property, that (a) 22 identifies the specific interest in the property claimed, (b) identifies the claimant and states the 23 claimant=s interest in the property, and (c) is signed by the claimant under penalty of perjury pursuant 24 to 28 U.S.C. ' 1746; (2) file the verified claim with the Clerk of the above-entitled Court no later than 25 35 days after the notice is sent or, if direct notice was not sent, no later than 60 days after the first day 26 of publication on the official internet government forfeiture site, www.forfeiture.gov; (3) file an 3 Case 3:13-cv-00268-LRH-WGC Document 26-1 Filed 05/09/14 Page 4 of 8 1 answer to the Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem or a motion under Rule 12 with the Clerk of the Court, 2 Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89101, 3 no later than 21 days after filing the verified claim; and (4) serve a copy of the verified claim and the 4 answer at the time of each filing on Michael A. Humphreys, Assistant United States Attorney, Lloyd 5 D. George United States Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 5000, Las Vegas, Nevada 6 89101. Complaint, ECF No. 1; Order for Summons and Warrant, ECF No. 3; Summons and Warrant, 7 ECF No. 4; Notice of Complaint, ECF Nos. 14. 14-1, and 23. 8 11. Public notice of the forfeiture action and arrest was given to all persons and entities by 9 publication via the official internet government forfeiture site, www.forfeiture.gov, from June 5, 2013, 10 through July 4, 2013. Notice of Filing Proof of Publication, ECF No. 13. 11 12. On June 14, 2013, the United States Marshals Service served the Complaint, the Order for 12 Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice, the Summons and Warrant of 13 Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Arrest by executing 14 them on the defendant property. Notice of Filing Service of Process, ECF No. 14, p. 2-17. 15 13. On June 14, 2013, the United States Marshals Service served the Complaint, the Order for 16 Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice, the Summons and Warrant of 17 Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Arrest on Jason Ryan 18 Gordon by regular mail and certified mail return receipt requested. Notice of Filing Service of Process, 19 ECF No. 14, p. 18-52. 20 14. On June 17, 2013, the United States Marshals Service served the served the Complaint, 21 the Order for Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice, the Summons and 22 Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Arrest on 23 Jason Ryan Gordon, by and through his counsel Richard A. Schonfeld, Esq., by personal service. 24 Notice of Filing Service of Process, ECF No. 14, p. 53-68. 25 15. On June 14, 2013, the United States Marshals Service served the served the Complaint, 26 the Order for Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice, the Summons and 4 Case 3:13-cv-00268-LRH-WGC Document 26-1 Filed 05/09/14 Page 5 of 8 1 Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Arrest on 2 Robert Herman Gaskill by certified return receipt mail, which was unclaimed, and by regular mail. 3 Notice of Filing Service of Process, ECF No. 14-1, p. 19-55. 4 16. On March 4, 2014, the United States Attorney’s Office served the served the Complaint, 5 the Order for Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice, the Summons and 6 Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Arrest on 7 Randy Wilcox, Manager of Wilcox Automotive, LLC, by regular and certified return receipt mail. 8 Notice of Filing Service of Process – Mailing, ECF No. 23, p. 1-26. 9 10 17. On June 26, 2013, Jason Ryan Gordon filed a claim. Claim, ECF No. 5. 18. On June 26, 2013, Jason Ryan Gordon filed an Answer to the Complaint. Answer, ECF 11 No. 6. 12 19. On February 20, 2014, the United States filed a Settlement Agreement for Entry of 13 Judgment of Forfeiture as to Claimant, and Order, regarding the $76,400.00 in United States Currency. 14 Claimant waived, among other things, service of process. Settlement Agreement, ECF No. 20. 15 20. February 24, 2014, the Court entered the Order granting the Settlement Agreement for 16 Entry of Judgment of Forfeiture as to Claimant, and Order. Order Granting Settlement Agreement, 17 ECF No. 21. 18 21. No other person or entity has filed a claim, answer, or responsive pleading within the time 19 permitted by 18 U.S.C.§ 983(a)(4) and Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule G(4) and (5). 20 22. On April 28, 2014, the United States filed an Amended Request for Entry of Default 21 against: (1) the $76,400.00 in United States Currency; (2) Robert Herman Gaskill; (3) Wilcox 22 Automotive, LLC; and (4) all persons or entities who claim an interest in the $76,400.00 in United 23 States Currency in the above-entitled action except Jason Ryan Gordon. Amended Request for Entry 24 of Default, ECF No. 24. 25 23. On April 29, 2014, the Clerk of the Court entered a Default against: (1) the $76,400.00 in 26 United States Currency; (2) Robert Herman Gaskill; (3) Wilcox Automotive, LLC; and (4) all persons 5 Case 3:13-cv-00268-LRH-WGC Document 26-1 Filed 05/09/14 Page 6 of 8 1 or entities who claim an interest in the $76,400.00 in United States Currency in the above-entitled 2 action except Jason Ryan Gordon. Clerk’s Entry of Default, ECF No. 25. 3 24. Robert Herman Gaskill is not in the military service within the purview of the 4 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Exhibit 1. 5 25. Jason Ryan Gordon is neither a minor nor an incompetent person. 6 III. JUDGMENT 7 26. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(c) and 55(b), the judgment by default does not “differ in 8 kind from, or exceed [the] amount” of relief listed in the complaint for forfeiture. 9 IV. DEFAULT AND ENTRY OF DEFAULT 10 27. As shown above, the United States has requested entry of Clerk’s Default against: (1) the 11 $76,400.00 in United States Currency; (2) Robert Herman Gaskill; (3) Wilcox Automotive, LLC; and 12 (4) all persons or entities who claim an interest in the $76,400.00 in United States Currency in the 13 above-entitled action except Jason Ryan Gordon (ECF No. 24). The Clerk entered the Default as 14 requested (ECF No. 25). 15 V. NOTICE 16 28. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule G(4)(a)(iv)(C), the United States published notice 17 via the official internet government forfeiture site, www.forfeiture.gov, for thirty consecutive days. 18 See above. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule G(4)(b), the United States served the Complaint, 19 the Order for Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice, the Summons and 20 Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Arrest on 21 all known potential claimants. See above. 22 VI. LEGAL SUFFICIENCY OF THE COMPLAINT 23 29. The Complaint filed in this action was verified. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction, 24 in rem jurisdiction over the $76,400.00 in United States Currency, and venue. The Complaint 25 described the property with reasonable particularity. The Complaint states where the seizure of the 26 $76,400.00 in United States Currency occurred and its current location. The Complaint identifies the 6 Case 3:13-cv-00268-LRH-WGC Document 26-1 Filed 05/09/14 Page 7 of 8 1 statute under which the forfeiture action is brought. The Complaint alleges sufficiently detailed facts 2 to support a reasonable belief that the United States will be able to meet its burden proof at trial. See 3 facts above. Complaint, ECF No. 1. Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule G(2). 4 30. The allegations of the Complaint are sustained by the evidence and are adopted as findings 5 of fact. The Court concludes as a matter of law that the United States is entitled to the relief requested 6 in the Complaint. 7 VII. POTENTIAL CLAIMANTS 8 31. Jason Ryan Gordon has entered into a Settlement Agreement with the United States. No 9 other person has filed a claim and the time to file a claim has passed. 10 32. Based on the foregoing this Court finds that the United States has shown its entitlement to 11 a Default Judgment of Forfeiture as to: (1) the $76,400.00 in United States Currency; (2) Robert 12 Herman Gaskill; (3) Wilcox Automotive, LLC; and (4) all persons or entities who claim an interest in 13 the $76,400.00 in United States Currency and Final Judgment of Forfeiture as to $76,400.00 in United 14 States Currency and Jason Ryan Gordon. 15 NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that 16 Default Judgment of Forfeiture is entered against: (1) the $76,400.00 in United States Currency; (2) 17 Robert Herman Gaskill; (3) Wilcox Automotive, LLC; and (4) all persons or entities who claim an 18 interest in the $76,400.00 in United States Currency in the above-entitled action. 19 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Final Judgment of 20 Forfeiture is entered against the $76,400.00 in United States Currency and Jason Ryan Gordon. 21 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the $76,400.00 in United 22 States Currency be, and the same is hereby forfeited to the United States of America, and no right, 23 title, or interest in the property shall exist in any other party, other than Jason Ryan Gordon, whose 24 rights and liabilities are adjudged below. 25 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDED AND DECREED, that, the property having been 26 forfeited, within a practicable time hereafter for the United States, the United States must release to 7 Case 3:13-cv-00268-LRH-WGC Document 26-1 Filed 05/09/14 Page 8 of 8 1 Jason Ryan Gordon, through Richard A. Schonfeld, Esq., one payment of $11,460.00 in United States 2 Currency, less any debt owed the United States, any agency of the United States, or any debt in which 3 the United States is authorized to collect. 4 IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465(a)(2), that there was reasonable 5 cause for the seizure or arrest of the defendant property. 6 DATED this 12th day of May, 2014. ___________________________________ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE ________________________________ LARRY R. HICKS DATED:___________________________ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 8