Police seize $332,000 from Asian couple

Six months prior to this traffic stop, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2019, which amended Arkansas law to read: “There shall be no civil judgment under this subchapter and no property shall be forfeited unless the person from whom the property is seized is convicted of a felony offense that related to the property.”

You would be forgiven for thinking that such a law would curb civil asset forfeiture in Arkansas. Not quite, though. Now, cases are simply transferred to federal court, where there are no such restrictions, and where “equitable sharing” ensures that a sizable portion of any forfeited funds gets kicked back to the local agency.

But wait! A separate Arkansas law was passed to curb that practice: “No state or local law enforcement agency may transfer any property seized by the state or local agency to any federal entity for forfeiture under federal law unless the circuit court having jurisdiction over the property enters an order, upon petition by the prosecuting attorney, authorizing the property to be transferred to the federal entity.”

The law further states that “the transfer shall not be approved unless it reasonably appears that the activity giving rise to the investigation or seizure involves more than one state or the nature of the investigation or seizure would be better pursued under federal law.”

That’s why, on September 12, 2019, Lonoke County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Huggins filed in Lonoke Circuit Court a complaint for forfeiture, immediately followed by a “Petition for Authorization to Transfer Seized Property to Drug Enforcement Administration.” In Huggins’ petition were the magic words: “[T]he nature of the activity giving rise to the seizure would better be pursued under federal forfeiture law because the federal authorities are investigating the Claimant’s involvement in interstate drug trafficking.” Investigating.

PACER stands for “Public Access to Court Electronic Records.” It’s a service that does two things: (1) provides electronic public access to federal court records, and (2) slowly empties your wallet.

As of this story’s publication, a name search of PACER for “Sung Won Kim” reveals that there have been no federal charges brought against Sung Won Kim. Kim did, however, file for bankruptcy in 2020.

Arkansas passed its ineffective forfeiture reform law in 2019. Two years prior, the United States Department of Justice Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section published an “Equitable Sharing Wire” regarding state forfeiture legislation that impacts state or local law enforcement agencies’ ability to transfer assets to the federal government for federal forfeiture or receive equitably shared funds.

The 2017 publication states that “State legislation directing federally forfeited proceeds to state general accounts conflicts with the statutes and policies governing the Equitable Sharing Program. Agencies in states with such laws are precluded from receiving federal equitable sharing funds.”

It appears from the above that Arkansas had clear instructions, if they wanted to use them, about how to write an effective forfeiture reform law.

As to Mr. Kim’s (or whomever’s…) funds, some mild comedy from the case United States of America vs. $332,057 in United States Currency:

On March 21, 2022, Judge Kristine Baker denied the claimant’s motion to suppress evidence. That same day, Judge Baker issued a “Judgment and Decree of Forfeiture,” writing “The Court declares that the $332,057 in U.S. currency (“defendant property”) described in the government’s verified complaint (Dkt. No. 1) is forfeited, and title is now vested in the United
States. All prior claims in and against the defendant property are extinguished and declared void. The defendant property shall be turned over to the United States and disposed of according to law. The Clerk is directed to close the case.”

The following day, Judge Baker issues an order vacating her previous judgment: “The Court, on its own motion, withdraws the judgment entered on March 21, 2022. Both parties take the position that matters remain for trial, even with the Court’s ruling on the suppression motion. Trial in this matter remains scheduled. The Clerk is directed to reopen the case.” (Citations removed.)

Oops.

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32 thoughts on “Police seize $332,000 from Asian couple

  1. Making sure nobody is a murderer…. Your not a murderer are ya??? Yes officer I am a murderer, is that a problem??…….

  2. I feel like a dog will alert on everybody’s car. Because it’s based on if a car has ever come in contact with the odor. So it can be in the seats or anything..

  3. Out of state license plate, pull them over, split up the occupants, interrogate them about a range of topics including plans, activities, and geography, ask them if they can search the car, they say no, get the dog to hit on something and search the car regardless, then ruin their lives even though there is no evidence of a crime. What a great duty these officers are providing their communities.

  4. To the regular public, these people seem fine. These highly trained officers can sniff out sketchy people like this easily. Thanks for keeping us all safe, officer!

  5. This is seriously like the 5th drug video I have watched and they literally all be the exact same. Everyone drives a rental car, and the cop will have the driver sit in his car. He will ask where they from, where they going, how long they gonna be there, etc. Then they walk up to the car and will ask the other person the same exact questions. For one I don’t understand how if a person traveling with big amounts of drugs how they allow themselves to get stopped in the first place. I would not give a police a reason to stop me. And then these people need to get their stories straight with each other in the case that they did get stopped.

  6. People in these comments are complete morons. No wonder the police have so many issues with simple stops. You fools believe you know everything and think the Police don’t have the ability to do anything and some of y’all even claim you’d act violently towards the cop

  7. I absolutely LOVE your videos but the ones like this where the police steal money from innocent people I can never watch past the part where they call for the K9 to come and pretend he smells something illegal, the way they do people just makes my blood boil!! But thanks for uploading and hopefully I can watch your next video😂

  8. Drug money often has been in contact with drugs, and dogs can sniff it out. If you carry ilegal stuff don’t be nervous about it, and drive very carefully. Cops become good at profiling…

  9. That would be none of your business officer
    *edit: and exactly how does no probable cause, no I don't consent to search, leads to being detained until the trained to alert dogs shows up…..THEY KNEW

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