A Pennsylvania firm is asking a federal courtroom to return about $166,000 in proceeds from marijuana gross sales in Missouri that was seized by legislation enforcement in Kansas because the money was on its method to Colorado.
The U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for Kansas filed the civil asset forfeiture case final month within the U.S. District Courtroom in Wichita.
Federal prosecutors declare the cash is topic to forfeiture due to alleged violations of a U.S. law against manufacturing and distributing drugs. The motive force of the van, although, hasn’t been charged with any federal crimes in Kansas, U.S. District Courtroom information present.
Drug Enforcement Administration Particular Agent Bryson Wheeler, who’s stationed in Kansas, wrote the affidavit detailing the allegations of the case.
The roughly $165,620 in money was seized by Dickinson County Sheriff’s Deputy Kalen Robison throughout a Could 18 site visitors cease on I-70 close to the Abilene exit. The cash was in a Ford Transit van owned by Empyreal Logistics
Robison first pulled the van over on Could 17 for an unspecified site visitors violation, based on the affidavit. The motive force advised the deputy that she was a Denver-based worker of Empyreal Logistics and had been tasked with transporting money from marijuana dispensaries in Kansas Metropolis, Mo., throughout Kansas to a credit score union in Colorado.
Courtroom paperwork do not point out whether or not the dispensaries offered medical marijuana, which is authorized underneath Missouri legislation.
Driver stopped twice in two days
The motive force mentioned she was on her method to Kansas Metropolis and would gather the money proceeds from marijuana companies. The motive force was launched. The DEA then surveilled the driving force “stopping at and getting into a number of state marijuana dispensaries” on the Missouri aspect of the metro, based on the affidavit.
At some point after the primary site visitors cease, Robison once more pulled over the Empyreal van alongside the interstate in Dickinson County. The affidavit did not specify the explanation for stopping the automobile.
Legislation enforcement then seized 5 baggage of money, which the driving force mentioned have been from a number of marijuana dispensaries in Kansas Metropolis. A drug canine later “alerted to the odor of marijuana coming from the forex,” the DEA agent wrote, and “marijuana is a managed substance and unlawful underneath each federal and Kansas state legislation.”
Empyreal Logistics is a Pennsylvania-based firm. In courtroom information, the corporate’s legal professionals dispute claims that the cash was related to drug trafficking and topic to forfeiture.
“Plaintiff’s claims needs to be barred because the conduct which generated the Defendant property was lawful underneath Missouri state legislation and tacitly or affirmatively allowed by the motion of the US Federal Authorities,” the corporate’s legal professionals wrote.
The Empyreal web site advertises money administration.
“With our focused know-how, and low-profile, eco-conscious, armored autos, we will prevent money and time,” the web site states.
Whereas a rising majority of of states have legalized medical marijuana, a smaller quantity have legalized leisure use. Missouri voters authorized legalized medical marijuana by amending the state structure through a poll initiative in 2018.
Medical marijuana nonetheless unlawful in Kansas
Kansas is considered one of a few dozen states the place medical marijuana stays unlawful, although a invoice to create a medical marijuana program handed the Kansas Home late final session.
Federal legislation enforcement and prosecutors have been in a troublesome place.
“Any exercise involving marijuana that’s not licensed underneath the CSA remains a federal crime anywhere in the United States, together with in states which have presupposed to legalize medical or leisure marijuana,” the Congressional Analysis Service wrote in a Could 2020 report.
President Joe Biden has advocated for legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing possession, however has opposed full legalization.
In Could, Lawyer Basic Merrick Garland advised a U.S. Home committee that the Justice Division would not goal the marijuana business in states the place it’s authorized.
“The division’s view on marijuana use is that enforcement towards use is just not a superb use of our assets … the place it’s regulated by the state,” Garland mentioned.
U.S. Justice of the Peace Choose Kenneth Gale has set a scheduling convention for Jan. 4. Earlier than then, the events will talk about and file a report on the character of the claims and defenses, in addition to the potential of a settlement or different decision to the dispute.
The DEA nationwide public affairs workplace and a spokesperson for the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for Kansas decline to remark, citing the continued litigation. Legal professionals for the corporate did not instantly reply Friday afternoon to a request for remark.