United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
DOUGLAS P. WOODLOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case the United States seeks in rem forfeiture of
$100, 000 in currency. The United States alleges that the
currency is subject to forfeiture because it was connected to
illegal drug activity. Daniel Ormond has filed a claim to the
currency. Before me are cross-motions for summary judgment.
The Seizure of the Defendant Currency
26, 2016, members of the Logan Airport Task Force
(“LATF”) seized the res, $100, 000 in United
States currency, from the claimant, Daniel Ormond. Mr. Ormond
was ticketed to travel to Oakland, California on Southwest
Airlines, with a connecting flight in Baltimore, Maryland.
morning of May 26, 2016, after receiving a request from
Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”)
agents for assistance, Massachusetts State Police
(“MSP”) Sergeant John Tasker was dispatched to
the Southwest Airlines checkpoint in Terminal A at Logan
Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. TSA agents reported that a
passenger, later identified as Mr. Ormond, had attempted to
pass through the TSA security checkpoint with what appeared
to be a large amount of currency in his carry-on duffle bag.
TSA agents described the Defendant Currency as evenly stacked
bundles that were strapped to flat pieces of cardboard -
similar to the shape and size of a paperback book. The
bundles were covered in carbon-paper and gift wrapped. Two
such “gift wrapped” packages were in Mr.
Ormond's carry-on bag.
Ormond's airline ticket on Southwest Airlines on May 26,
2016 was listed as “Non-Revenue Ticket.”
Non-revenue designations are for those travelers traveling on
a Southwest Airlines Guest Pass. A Guest Pass is valid for
“Space Available (standby) travel” only. A person
flying in this standby status is subject to removal from a
flight at any point in order to accommodate revenue Customers
or Pass Travelers with a higher priority. Such a person may
only obtain a security document to proceed through the
security checkpoint and wait at the gate for seat
availability. This security document may only be obtained up
to 24 hours in advance of travel and the traveler may only
add his name to the standby list two hours prior to
Trooper Baldwin Leon and Drug Enforcement Administration
(“DEA”) Special Agent Eugene DiFiore assisted
Sgt. Tasker with the investigation of the Defendant Currency.
Mr. Ormond spoke to the investigators present regarding his
travel plans and the origin of the Defendant Currency found
in his carry-on luggage. When asked about the Defendant
Currency in his luggage, Mr. Ormond initially denied
possessing a large amount of currency. Mr. Ormond stated that
he was traveling to California to attend the graduation of
his cousin, Brian Griswald, from Palo Alto High School and
that he planned to stay with his cousin in San Jose,
California during his visit. Mr. Ormond's mother, in a
deposition, however, stated that Mr. Ormond did not have a
cousin named “Brian Griswald, ” nor did he have
any cousins who graduated from Palo Alto High School with
that last name.
Ormond further stated that he packed his own bag and that it
contained two gift-wrapped books given to him by his mother
the night before as a graduation present for his cousin. When
asked about the Defendant Currency and the manner in which it
was packaged, Mr. Ormond stated that the wrapped items were
books and that he had no idea that they contained currency.
In her deposition, however, Mr. Ormond's mother testified
that she did not give him gift-wrapped books to give to any
relatives. Rather, she testified that she was not aware of
the existence of the Defendant Currency and that she did not
give Mr. Ormond the Defendant Currency. In fact, she
testified that she did not have the financial means to give
Mr. Ormond $100, 000 in May 2016.
Mr. Ormond was talking with Sgt. Tasker, Trooper Leon, and SA
DiFiore, he received and answered a phone call from Billy
Antenor. Mr. Ormond told Sgt. Tasker, Trooper Leon, and SA
DiFiore that he stayed with Mr. Antenor the previous night
and that Mr. Antenor had driven him to the airport prior to
his flight. He told them that Mr. Antenor was calling to
inquire if Mr. Ormond had gotten on the plane without any
point, Trooper Leon told Mr. Ormond that he did not believe
him and that a further investigation was needed regarding the
origin of the Defendant Currency. Mr. Ormond subsequently
accompanied the officials to the Massachusetts State Police
Troop F Barracks. Thereafter, MSP Detective Lieutenant Thomas
Coffey contacted MSP Sgt. Patrick Silva and requested the
assistance of a K-9 and handler trained in the detection of
narcotics odors. Sgt. Silva notified Det. Lt. Coffey that he
would be responding with K-9 Charbo.
Trooper Christopher Fraser was also requested to assist with
the investigation of the origin of the Defendant Currency.
Mr. Ormond told Trooper Fraser that he did not see his mother
wrap the two packages she gave him. However, when Trooper
Fraser asked if there would be any reason Mr. Ormond's
fingerprints could be found on the inside of the wrapping
paper with which the Defendant Currency was wrapped, Mr.
Ormond responded that he helped his mother wrap one of the
packages. During these later discussions, Mr. Ormond stated
that he knew the packages contained currency. Mr. Ormond then
told Trooper Fraser that his mother did not give him the
currency nor did she wrap the packages that contained the
currency. Mr. Ormond told Trooper Fraser that an unnamed
family member gave him the currency to give to another
unnamed family member. Mr. Ormond then stated,
“That's all I can say.”
Fraser further inquired about Mr. Ormond's phone call
with Mr. Antenor, whether Mr. Antenor had any relationship to
the Defendant Currency and why Mr. Antenor inquired about
whether Mr. Ormond boarded the plane without any issues. Mr.
Ormond told him that Mr. Antenor gave him a ride to the
airport that morning. When Trooper Fraser asked for Mr.
Antenor's address, Mr. Ormond was not able to provide the
address. He was unsure whether Mr. Antenor lived in Malden or
Medford, Massachusetts. Mr. Ormond then said that his
girlfriend, not Mr. Antenor, had brought him to the airport.
SA DiFiore researched Mr. Ormond's criminal history and
provided the results to Trooper Fraser. Trooper Fraser
reviewed the report and confirmed that Mr. Ormond had
previously been arrested for a drug offense in Nebraska.
later point, Mr. Ormond told Trooper Fraser that he no longer
wanted to speak with him and the other investigators and said
“I don't understand the legality of it, ” and
then asked: “If I'm not getting my money back,
could I have a receipt?” Trooper Fraser told Mr. Ormond
that the Defendant Currency was going to be seized pending
further investigation and an examination by a MSP K-9
certified to detect narcotics odor, but that he was free to
leave. Trooper Leon told Mr. Ormond that he would receive a
receipt after the completion of the K-9 examination and after
the Defendant Currency was counted.
preparation for the K-9 examination, LATF investigators hid
the Defendant Currency in the inside of a file cabinet
drawer, out of plain view, in an office inside the Barracks.
They did not disclose the location to Sgt. Silva. Sgt. Silva
arrived at the Barracks at approximately 11:30 a.m. and was
directed to the second floor. Sgt. Silva and K-9 Charbo went
inside the office space where the Defendant Currency was
hidden. After K-9 Charbo was released, he immediately turned
to the right and examined the lower-right hand drawer of a
desk within the office. Sgt. Silva saw K-9 Charbo display
deep inhalations, and then K-9 Charbo “downed”
towards the drawer. Sgt. Silva notified Det. Lt. Coffey and
SA DiFiore, and they told Sgt. Silva that the Defendant
Currency was hidden in the drawer identified by K-9 Charbo.
Mr. Ormond's Travels between Boston and
Ormond traveled between Boston and California twice in the
month before the seizure of the Defendant Currency.
April 21, 2016, Mr. Ormond flew from Los Angeles, California
to Sacramento, California. The next day he flew from
Sacramento to Denver, Colorado, and then from Denver to
Boston. Mr. Ormond booked both flights on the date of
departure and brought no checked luggage with him.
7, 2016, Mr. Ormond traveled from Boston to Los Angeles, with
a layover in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Mr. Ormond's Relationship with Mr. Antenor
Ormond told LATF officers that Mr. Antenor was a friend he
met while attending Bunker Hill Community College. Mr.
Antenor enrolled at Bunker Hill on April 30, 2010. Mr. Ormond
enrolled at Bunker Hill on December 21, 2012. The two met
when Mr. Antenor walked into one of Mr. Ormond's classes
to discuss “app building, ” and Mr. Ormond
offered to help Mr. Antenor. Thereafter, they began working
on their nightclub “app.”
Antenor and Mr. Ormond traveled to California in early 2016
to visit Mr. Ormond's uncle. In his deposition, however,
Mr. Antenor could not recall the name of Mr. Ormond's
uncle, or the location where they stayed. Mr. Antenor said
that they went on this trip to obtain an investor for their
app. They did not, however, meet with any investors during
their trip to California. In fact, they had not set up any
meetings with investors in advance of the California trip.
After this trip, Mr. Antenor lost contact with Mr. Ormond.
Nonetheless, the two were on the same flight together leaving
Logan Airport on May 26, 2016.
Mr. Antenor's Trips between Boston and California
April 28, 2016 to June 3, 2016, Mr. Antenor made several
trips between Boston and California.
April 28, 2016, he traveled from Boston to Los Angeles, with
a layover in Baltimore. The April 28, 2016 flight was booked
on the day of departure and Mr. Antenor brought no checked
luggage on the trip.
1, 2016, Mr. Antenor traveled to Boston from Los Angeles,
with a layover in Milwaukee. On the same day, he also
reserved a flight from Los Angeles to Boston, this
reservation included a layover in Denver. Again, the flights
were booked on the day of departure and Mr. Antenor brought
no checked luggage on the trip he took.
7, 2016, the same day that Mr. Ormond traveled from Boston to
Los Angeles with a layover in Milwaukee, Mr. Antenor traveled
from Boston to Los Angeles, with a layover in St. Louis,
Missouri. On that day, Mr. Antenor also reserved a flight
from Boston to Baltimore. The flight Mr. Antenor took on May
7, 2016 was booked on the day of departure and Mr. Antenor
brought no checked luggage on the trip.
15, 2016, Mr. Antenor traveled from Los Angeles to Boston,
with a layover in Indianapolis. In a pattern similar to his
previous booking, Mr. Antenor again reserved an additional
flight from Los Angeles to Boston, with a layover in Denver.
The flights again were booked the day of ...