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United States v. Approximately $19

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


November 30, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
APPROXIMATELY $19,608.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

FINAL JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE

Pursuant to the Stipulation for Final Judgment of Forfeiture filed herein, the Court finds:

1. This is a civil forfeiture action against defendant approximately $19,608.00 in U.S. Currency (hereafter "defendant currency").

2. A Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem was filed on July 11, 2008, seeking the forfeiture of the defendant currency, alleging the defendant currency is subject to forfeiture to the United States of America pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6) because the defendant currency constitutes moneys or other things of value furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for a controlled substance or listed chemical, all proceeds traceable to such an exchange and/or was used or intended to be used to facilitate one or more violations of 21 U.S.C. § 841 et seq.

3. On July 15, 2008, in accordance with the Complaint, a Warrant for Arrest of Articles In Rem for the defendant currency was issued and duly executed on the defendant currency on July 22, 2008.

4. On August 15, 22, 29, and September 5, 2008, a Public Notice of Arrest of the defendant currency appeared by publication in the Merced Sun-Star, a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the defendant currency was seized (Merced County). The Proof of Publication was filed with the Court on January 15, 2009.

5. In addition to the publication of the forfeiture action, actual notice was personally served upon Rosario Gutierrez, Maria Gutierrez, Gilbert Benavides, Veneranda Benavides, and Sergio Guzman. To date, only Rosario Gutierrez has filed a claim and answer to this action. No other parties have filed claims or answers in this matter, and the time for which any person or entity may file a claim and answer has expired.

6. The Clerk of the Court entered a Clerk's Certificate of Entry of Default against Maria Gutierrez, Gilbert Benavides, Veneranda Benavides, and Sergio Guzman on January 16, 2009. Pursuant to Local Rule A-540, the United States and claimant Rosario Gutierrez thus join in a request that as part of this Final Judgment of Forfeiture in this case the Court enter a default judgment against the interest, if any, of Maria Gutierrez, Gilbert Benavides, Veneranda Benavides, and Sergio Guzman.

7. Claimant Rodario Gutierrez represents and warrants that he is the sole owner of the defendant currency.

Based on the above findings, and the files and records of the Court, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED:

1. The Court adopts the Stipulation for Final Judgment of Forfeiture entered into by and between the parties to this action.

2. Judgment is hereby entered against Rosario Gutierrez, Maria Gutierrez, Gilbert Benavides, Veneranda Benavides, Sergio Guzman, and all other potential claimants who have not filed claims in this action.

3. Upon entry of this Final Judgment of Forfeiture, $9,804.00 of the defendant approximately $19,608.00 in U.S. Currency, together with any interest that may have accrued on the whole defendant approximately $19,608.00 in U.S. Currency, shall be forfeited to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6), to be disposed of according to law.

4. Upon entry of this Final Judgment of Forfeiture herein, but no later than 45 days thereafter, $9,804.00 of the defendant approximately $19,608.00 in U.S. Currency, shall be returned to claimant Rosario Gutierrez, through his attorney Dominic J. Falasco at 930 Pacheco Boulevard, Los Banos, California 93635, telephone (209) 826-5200.

5. Plaintiff United States of America and its servants, agents, and employees, and all other public entities, their servants, agents, and employees, are released from any and all liability arising out of or in any way connected with the arrest, seizure, or forfeiture of the defendant currency. This is a full and final release applying to all unknown and unanticipated injuries, and/or damages arising out of said arrest, seizure, or forfeiture, as well as to those now known or disclosed. The parties waive the provisions of California Civil Code § 1542.

6. Claimant Rosario Gutierrez hereby waives any and all claim or right to interest that may have accrued on the defendant currency, or any portion thereof.

7. There was reasonable cause for the seizure and arrest of the defendant currency and the Court may enter a Certificate of Reasonable Cause pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465.

8. All parties will bear their own costs and attorneys' fees.

SO ORDERED THIS 30th day of November, 2009.

CERTIFICATE OF REASONABLE CAUSE

Based upon the allegations set forth in the Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem filed July 11, 2008, and the Stipulation for Final Judgment of Forfeiture filed herein, the Court enters this Certificate of Reasonable Cause pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465, that there was reasonable cause for seizure of the defendant currency.

20091130

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