United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Stephen J. Murphy, III District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. MAJZOUB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
United States of America brings this civil-forfeiture action
pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881, 18 U.S.C. § 981, and
18 U.S.C. § 1956. (Docket no. 5.) Claimant Lonnie
Stribling claims an ownership interest in the subject
property. (Docket no. 11.) Before the Court is the
Government's motion to strike Stribling's claim for
lack of standing (docket no. 25), which was referred to the
undersigned to conduct an evidentiary hearing and issue a
Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B). (Docket no. 33.) Having reviewed the pleadings
and conducted an evidentiary hearing on March 18, 2019, the
undersigned issues this Report and Recommendation.
reasons that follow, it is recommended that the
Government's motion to strike Stribling's claim
(docket no. 25) be DENIED.
10, 2017, DEA agents executed a search warrant at Lonnie
Stribling's residence in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
(Docket no. 5, pp. 9-10.) As agents approached the home,
Gyasi Stribling-Lonnie Stribling's minor son-exited the
house with a suitcase. (Id. at 10-11; docket no.
27-2, p. 2.) The agents confronted Gyasi and discovered that
the suitcase contained $850, 120 in U.S. currency.
Government seeks forfeiture of that money and other property
uncovered during the search pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881,
18 U.S.C. § 981, and 18 U.S.C. § 1956. (Docket no.
5.) On April 24, 2018, Stribling filed a claim of interest
the property. (Docket no. 11.)
to Rule G(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Civil
Forfeiture Actions (the “Supplemental Rules”),
the Government served interrogatories on Stribling regarding
the basis for his claim of ownership. (Docket no. 15-2.)
Asked to explain “how [he] acquired an interest in the
$850, 120 contained in a suitcase seized from Gyasi
Stribling, ” Stribling answered that the money was
“gifted to [him]” by his mother. (Docket no.
27-4, pp. 7-8.) Regarding “the purpose for which Gyasi
Stribling possessed the Defendant Currency on July 10, 2017,
” Stribling stated that there was “[n]o specific
Government contended that Stribling's interrogatory
responses were inadequate and moved for an evidentiary
hearing to determine whether Stribling has standing to
contest the forfeiture of the $850, 120 seized from the
suitcase. (Docket no. 16.) The Government also filed a motion
to strike Stribling's claim for lack of standing with
respect to the $850, 120. (Docket no. 25.)
Court granted the Government's motion for an evidentiary
hearing and referred the motion to strike to the undersigned
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (Docket no. 33.)
During the hearing on March 18, 2019, Stribling testified
that he is the owner of the $850, 120 seized from his son on
July 10, 2017.
Standard of Review
Government moves to strike Lonnie Stribling's claim
pursuant to Supplemental Rule G(8)(c). (Docket no. 25.) Under
that rule, Stribling bears the “burden of establishing
standing by a preponderance of ...