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Judge allows seizure of $350,000 after drug busts

A U.S. District Court judge granted the federal government’s motion for default judgment on the forfeiture of $350,000 seized during a drug trafficking and money laundering investigation in Gwinnett County.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story filed the order July 3 in the Northern District of Georgia.

According to the complaint for forfeiture, the assistant U.S. attorney said $350,000 in U.S. currency was seized Aug. 14, 2018, from a vehicle “as part of a drug trafficking and money laundering investigation.”

“The money launderers would have individuals fly to Georgia, rent a car, pick up drug proceeds and then return to New York to launder the money,” according to the complaint.

A court-authorized wiretap intercepted information about a meeting to pick up $350,000 in drug proceeds Aug. 14, 2018, at a Walmart in Lilburn.

After authorities surveilled the suspects in the case, a Georgia State Patrol officer made a traffic stop and received consent to search the vehicle.

The officers found backpacks and a suitcase containing large sums of money and a money counter.

Weeks later, Georgia State Patrol officers conducted a traffic stop on different people that led to the seizure of 250 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. Lawrenceville Police also seized 25 kilograms of cocaine in a separate traffic stop.

In March, the federal government served notices of the complaint for forfeiture, but no answers were filed by those served. 

The government filed for default judgment June 5.

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