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New Orleans man returned nearly $ 30,000 after DEA officers seized at airport

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New Orleans man returned nearly $ 30,000 after DEA officers seized at airport

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According to a settlement agreement signed Thursday, the federal government agreed to dismiss its civil forfeiture case.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized $ 28,180.00 of Kermit Warren’s money at the Columbus airport last November as Warren returned home after inspecting a tow truck he was considering. buy for his scrapping business, according to a statement from the Institute for Justice, a non-profit whose attorneys helped Warren reach a settlement in the case.

According to the Institute for Justice, Warren has never been arrested or charged with a crime and the seizure “was based on vague innuendos and baseless accusations that the money was drug-related.”

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio filed a civil money forfeiture lawsuit in April, arguing that “the currency is forfeit in the United States … because it represents property supplied or intended to be supplied in exchange for a controlled substance, represents the proceeds of such exchange, or has been used or intended to be used to facilitate any violation of 21 USC 841 or a conspiracy to commit such an offense ”, according to the regulations.

After Warren’s lawyers documented the legitimate purpose of his trip and the legal sources of his money, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the case “with prejudice,” the statement said, meaning the case will not be heard at trial or closed again.

Jennifer Thornton, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, confirmed the case was resolved by agreement of the parties, but did not provide further comment.

“I am relieved that I can finally get my hard-earned savings back after a year of suffering,” Warren said in a statement. “But what happened to me was wrong. The officers and prosecutors treated me like a criminal when all I was trying to do was improve my business and my life. have left them struggling to survive a pandemic and hurricane without my savings. I haven’t done anything wrong, but until the law is changed to ensure everyone is protected, I will have no more cash in my house.

“Unconstitutional TSA and DEA ‘see money, seize money’ practices must stop to prevent further abuses like Kermit’s,” Justice Institute prosecutor Jaba said. Tsitsuashvili. “Although Kermit will get his money back after a year of struggle, it will continue to happen to other flyers until the agencies are forced to end their unconstitutional practices.”

Local News Usa News New Orleans man returned nearly $ 30,000 after DEA officers seized at airport

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