United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
CLAY D. LAND, District Judge.
Based on four controlled purchases of cocaine by a confidential informant, deputy sheriffs obtained search warrants for the homes of two brothers and their mother. At the mother's home, the deputies located a safe that contained three twenty-dollar bills and a one-hundred-dollar bill that had been used in the controlled purchases. In addition to the traced $160 in currency, the deputies found an additional $57, 440.00 in cash in the safe. Although no one has been indicted for the underlying criminal activity that gave rise to the search of the safe, the United States wants the money, and it has filed this civil forfeiture action to get it. One of the brothers, who was not implicated in the alleged criminal activity, now claims the cash is his. After a bench trial, the Court finds in favor of the United States based upon the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
FINDINGS OF FACT
Former Muscogee County Sheriff's Office ("Sheriff's Office") Investigator Findley received numerous tips from various sources, including confidential informants, that Terrence Jackson a/k/a "Bear" and his brother, Deryk Jackson a/k/a "Shorty, " were selling powder and crack cocaine from their residences on Rice Street and Cornell Avenue. Investigator Findley was also told that Deryk was frequently seen going back and forth between his home (2550 Cornell Avenue) and his mother's home next door (2556 Cornell Avenue) during drug transactions.
Based on this information, Investigator Findley arranged a series of controlled purchases of narcotics from Terrence and Deryk using informants over a period of two months.
In the first transaction, Investigator Findley and his colleague, Investigator Batastini, observed the informants exchange $100.00 of photocopied Sheriff's Office funds for 1.1 grams of crack cocaine from Deryk at 2550 Cornell Avenue and 2556 Cornell Avenue. The informants also exchanged $50.00 of photocopied Sheriff's Office funds for 0.6 grams of powder cocaine from Terrence at 2517 Rice Street.
In the second transaction, Investigator Findley observed the informants exchange $120.00 of photocopied Sheriff's Office funds for 0.6 grams of crack cocaine and 0.6 grams of powder cocaine from Deryk and Terrence at 2550 Cornell Avenue and 2556 Cornell Avenue.
In the third transaction, Investigator Findley observed the informants enter Terrence's residence at 2517 Rice Street and return with 0.6 grams of crack cocaine and 0.6 grams of powder cocaine. The informants exchanged $100.00 of photocopied Sheriff's Office funds for the narcotics.
The final controlled purchase occurred on April 14, 2011 around 3:30 p.m. Investigators Findley and Batastini observed the informants exchange $100.00 of photocopied Sheriff's Office funds for 1.1 grams of crack cocaine from Deryk at 2550 Cornell Avenue.
A criminal history record check revealed that both Terrence and Deryk have prior arrests and are convicted felons.
Based on the information gathered during the drug investigation and surveillance, Investigator Findley obtained search warrants for 2517 Rice Street, 2550 Cornell Avenue, and 2556 Cornell Avenue. All ...