United States District Court, D. Minnesota
C. Tostrud United States District Judge
United States has filed a motion seeking: (1) a default
judgment against all unknown persons and entities having an
interest in the Defendant Currency for failure to file a
claim to the Defendant Currency and answer to the Verified
Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem; and (2) an order forfeiting
the entire amount of the Defendant Currency to the United
States. Based on all the files and proceedings in this
action, the Court finds as follows:
May 14, 2018, the government filed a Verified Complaint for
Forfeiture In Rem with verification by Jeffrey N. Trevino,
Task Force Officer, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
(“Verified Complaint” or “Verified
Compl.”). See ECF No. 1; see also
Rule G(2)(a) of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or
Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions (the
“Supplemental Rules” or “Supp. R.”).
Verified Complaint alleges, and the Court finds, that the
Court possesses subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1345 because this is an action commenced by the United
States and under 28 U.S.C. § 1355(a) because this is an
action for forfeiture. See Verified Compl. ¶ 3;
Supp. R. G(2)(b). The Verified Complaint further alleges, and
the Court finds, that the Court possesses in rem jurisdiction
over the Defendant Currency under 28 U.S.C. § 1355(b),
see Verified Compl. ¶ 4; Supp. R. G(2)(b), and
that venue is proper in the District of Minnesota pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1335(b)(1) because the acts or omissions
giving rise to the forfeiture occurred in this District and
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1395 because the Defendant
Currency is located in this District, see Verified
Compl. ¶ 5; Supp. R. G(2)(b).
Verified Complaint describes the subject property with
reasonable particularity, and identifies both the location
where the seizure occurred and the location of the Defendant
Currency when the action was filed. See Supp. R.
G(2)(c)-(d). In particular, the Verified Complaint describes
the subject property as “$9, 980 in U.S. Currency
seized from Michael Paul McDonough at the Minneapolis/St.
Paul International Airport (‘MSP') on November 1,
2017” and states that the Defendant Currency was in
custody of the U.S. Marshals Service in this District.
Verified Compl. ¶¶ 2, 5.
government sought forfeiture under 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6)
because, it alleges, the Defendant Currency “was
furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for a
controlled substance, constitutes proceeds traceable to such
an exchange, or was used or intended to be used to facilitate
a violation of the Controlled Substances Act.” Verified
Compl. ¶¶ 54-55; Supp. R. G(2)(e). The Court
concludes, based upon the facts alleged in the Verified
Complaint, together with the facts alleged and deemed
admitted through default in the related case of United
States v. $6, 900 in U.S. Currency, No. 18-cv-0028
(JNE/TNL) (D. Minn.) (the “Bowlds Forfeiture
Action”), and the forfeiture order entered in that
related action [Bowlds Forfeiture Action ECF No. 38], the
government has stated sufficiently detailed facts to support
a reasonable belief that the government would be able to meet
its burden at trial, see generally Am. Verified
Compl. ¶¶ 7-21; Supp. R. G(2)(f).
Warrant of Arrest and Notice In Rem was issued on May 22,
2018, directing the United States Marshals Service to arrest
the Defendant Currency. ECF No. 15 at 2-4; Supp. R.
G(3)(b)(i). The warrant was returned executed on May 17,
2019. ECF No. 15 at 1; Supp. R. G(3)(c).
June 1, 2018, McDonough filed a verified statement of
interest and answer, asserting that he was the owner of the
Defendant Currency. See generally ECF No. 3 and
¶ 1. The government avers that it did not serve
McDonough with a Notice of Forfeiture in this case, which
Supplemental Rule G(4)(b) would normally require, because he
had already filed his verified statement of interest answer,
thereby demonstrating that he had actual knowledge of this
proceeding. See Supp. R. G(4)(b)(v) (excusing the
sending of notice where potential claimant has actual
Pursuant to Supplemental Rule G(4)(a)(iv)(C), the U.S.
Attorney's Office posted a Notice of Forfeiture on an
official government internet site (www.forfeiture.gov) for at
least 30 consecutive days, beginning on February 23, 2019.
Baune Decl. ¶ 6; Decl. of Publication [ECF No. 14];
see also Supp. R. G(4)(a)(iv). That published notice
satisfied the content requirements of Supp. R. G(4)(a)(ii).
See Attachment 1 to Declaration of Publication [ECF
No. 14-1] (describing the property with reasonable
particularity, stating the times under Supplemental Rule G(5)
to file a verified claim and to answer, and naming the
government attorney to be served with the claim and answer).
one other than McDonough has filed a verified claim or
answer, and the time for filing a claim and answer has
expired under Supplemental Rule G(5). Baune Decl. ¶ 7.
McDonough entered into a Stipulation of Settlement with the
government, in which he agreed to withdraw his claim to the
Defendant Currency to permit the entire amount to be
forfeited to the United States. Stipulation of Settlement 2
[ECF No. 16].
clerk has entered a default. ECF No. 23; Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a).
government avers that, upon information and belief, McDonough
is not an infant or incompetent person, and avers further
that the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center does not
indicate that he is in the military service or the armed
forces of the United States of America or other friendly
powers. Baune Decl. ¶ 5.
THEREFORE, IT IS ...