Former Customs Employee Pleads Guilty To Auctioning Online A Customs Declaration Form Signed By A Celebrity
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced today that the federal court in the Western District of North Carolina has ordered the final forfeiture of a Henderson County residence used in the illegal distribution of oxycodone and other narcotics. The forfeiture of the residence to the United States is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Henderson County Sherriff’s Office, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The case against the residence arose out of a civil complaint for forfeiture filed by the United States in February 2015 (Docket No. 1:15-cv-23). The United States’ forfeiture lawsuit was brought pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881, which, under certain circumstances, allows for forfeiture of property which is proceeds of or used to commit or facilitate the commission of felony drug offenses. In its civil complaint, the United States alleged that the property located at 318 Jody Street, in East Flat Rock, N.C. (“the Jody Street Property”), facilitated and was proceeds of narcotics offenses by Harvey Franklin Hunt, Vivian Hunt, and Dorothy Hunt.
The civil complaint detailed narcotics offenses dating back to 2012. Specifically, the civil complaint alleged illegal sales of oxycodone from the property, and also the recovery of large amounts of cash, digital scales, marijuana, alprazolam, and methamphetamine from the residence. Finally, the civil complaint alleged multiple state controlled substances convictions against Harvey Hunt, Vivian Hunt, and Dorothy Hunt.
Ultimately, the civil forfeiture case was stayed pending the resolution of state criminal charges against the Hunts based on the continuing drug activity. In 2016, after the successful resolution of the state cases and the conviction of the Hunts, the federal court lifted the stay. The United States ultimately obtained agreement from Harvey and Vivian Hunt, the owners of the Jody Street Property, to their eviction from and final forfeiture of the property. The default judgment and final order entered this month by the federal court enables the United States to evict the Hunts and sell the property.
In making today’s announcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office commended the coordination and collaborative work of the DEA, the Henderson County Sherriff’s Office, and the Henderson County Drug Task Force.
Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Bain-Creed, of the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, handled the civil proceedings.