United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
ORDER OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE
Reidinger United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on the Government's
Motion for Default Judgment of Forfeiture pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). [Doc. 9]. The Government requests that
the Court enter a Default Judgment of Forfeiture as to all
persons and entities with respect to the $13, 594 in U.S.
Currency (the “Defendant Currency”) named in the
August 7, 2018, the Government filed a Verified Complaint
(the “Complaint”) for Forfeiture In Rem,
alleging that the Defendant Currency is subject to civil
forfeiture under 21 U.S.C. § 881. [Doc. 1]. The
same day the Complaint was filed, the Clerk issued a Warrant
of Arrest In Rem for the Defendant property. [Doc.
detailed in the Complaint, this case arises out of an
investigation by the Buncombe County Anti-Crime Task Force
(“BCAT”) concerning the trafficking of heroin,
marijuana, and other narcotics from the Dunbar Apartment
Complex in Arden, NC. [See generally Doc. 1]. On
March 21, 2018, pursuant to a search warrant, BCAT agents
searched an apartment in the Dunbar Apartment Complex located
at 314 Peacock Lane, Arden, NC 28704, in which Jerrell Tito
Bowman and Aisha Amani Harrison resided. [Id. at
¶¶ 5, 9, 27].
the search, BCAT agents located, among other things, the
following items: 19.5 grams of suspected heroin; 4.7 grams of
suspected crack cocaine; 50.1 grams of suspected powder
cocaine; a set of digital scales with white residue on them;
two bottles of “Inositol, ” a cutting agent; 4.1
grams of smoked marijuana cigarettes; 1.015 pounds of
marijuana; and approximately $11, 013.00 in U.S. Currency.
[Id. at ¶¶ 35-40].
same day, BCAT agents also conducted a search of a 2006 Acura
displaying NC license plate EJV-2028 that Mr. Bowman was seen
driving that day. [Id. at ¶¶ 12-13].
During the search of the vehicle, agents located 42.5 grams
of suspected cocaine base, 3.6 grams of suspected heroin, a
Sig Sauer P2022 9mm Pistol, $1, 994 in U.S. Currency, 6.2
grams of marijuana rolled in a cigarette, and .505 pounds of
marijuana in four separate baggies. [Id. at ¶
44]. The 2006 Acura was registered to Timothy Green and
Shanae Davis,  and their address was listed as 111 Spruce
Hill Lane, Asheville, NC. [Id. at ¶¶
12-13]. Additionally, that same day, BCAT agents located
$587.00 in U.S. Currency on Mr. Bowman's person.
[Id. at ¶ 44]. Mr. Bowman was arrested and
charged with various offenses, including drug trafficking
charges. [Id. at ¶ 57]. On March 22, 2018, a K9
positively alerted to the Defendant Currency. [Id.
at ¶¶ 59-60].
the seizure, the Drug Enforcement Administration
(“DEA”) initiated administrative forfeiture of
the Defendant Currency. During the administrative forfeiture
process, DEA mailed notice of the administrative forfeiture
to Mr. Bowman, Ms. Harrison, Mr. Green, and Ms. Davis. Mr.
Green was the only individual who filed a claim with the DEA
in the administrative process, and his claim was only as to
$2, 581 of the $13, 594 in U.S. Currency that was seized.
the Government filed its Complaint on August 7, 2018, in
accordance with Rule G(4)(b) of the Supplemental Rules for
Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions,
the Government provided direct notice of the action to known
potential claimants. Specifically, on August 22, 2018, the
Government mailed notice and a copy of the Complaint to Mr.
Bowman and Ms. Harrison at their address of record, 314
Peacock Lane, Arden, NC 28704. Additionally, on August 22,
2018, the Government mailed notice and a copy of the
Complaint to Mr. Green at 5 Blanton Street, Asheville, NC
28801, which was the address he listed on his administrative
claim, and the Government also mailed notice and a copy of
the Complaint to Mr. Green's attorney, Joseph Connolly,
at 81 Central Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801. Finally, on
September 10, 2018, the Government mailed notice and a copy
of the Complaint to Ms. Davis at 111 Spruce Hill Lane,
Asheville, NC, which was the address listed on her
registration for the 2006 Acura. Furthermore, in accordance
with Supplemental Rule 4(a), the Government provided notice
by publication as to all persons with potential claims to the
Defendant Currency by publishing notice via
www.forfeiture.gov from August 22, 2018, until September 20,
2018. [Doc. 5].
August 27, 2018, the apartment manager of Dunbar Place
Apartments called the United States Attorney's Office to
inform the Government that Mr. Bowman and Ms. Harrison no
longer live in the apartment complex and that a new tenant
had accidentally opened the notice package sent from the
United States Attorney's Office. The apartment manager
also informed the Government that Ms. Harrison's mail was
provided to her grandmother for forwarding to Ms. Harrison.
than seek the entry of default immediately after the claims
deadline expired, the Government took additional steps to
locate Mr. Bowman and Ms. Harrison. Specifically, on
September 5, 2018, October 9, 2018, and again on February 13,
2019, the United States Attorney's Office contacted DEA
and sought assistance in obtaining an updated and current
mailing address for Mr. Bowman and Ms. Harrison. Although DEA
has reason to believe that Mr. Bowman and Ms. Harrison now
reside in the Charlotte area, DEA has not been able to locate
a valid address for either individual.
the circumstances of this case, the Court finds that the
Government has taken reasonable steps to provide notice to
known potential claimants, and the Government has otherwise
complied with the notice requirements set forth in
Supplemental Rule G(4). Additionally, during the pendency of
this action, no individual or entity has timely filed a
proper claim to the Defendant Currency or otherwise answered.
February 22, 2019, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), the
Government filed a motion for entry of default [Doc. 7], and
the Clerk entered default that same day [Doc. 8].
careful review, the Court finds that the Government has
established that the entry of a default judgment is
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED, ADJUDGED, ...