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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26410
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My Express package had $5000.00 in cash, hidden in a

Customer Question

my Express package had $5000.00 in cash, hidden in a hardback book. A postal inspector had a trained drug dog smell out that package . It was confiscated and a warrant was issued to open that package. No marijuana was found. Instead of sending the Express package to the receiver, it was seized under the pretense of putting a halt to''ILLEGAL ACTIVITY'' Now a letter of documentation and the reason why that package was not sent on is in limbo for 30-60 days. All my rights are nonexistent and void as an American under the privacy act. Is this legal?
JA: The Fraud Examiner will know what to do. Is there anything else the Fraud Examiner should be aware of?
Customer: The Postal inspector has not admitted or documented on paper or e-mail the amount of the contents other than verbally stating the amount to me. He will not tape the conversation between us even after I have asked for that courtesy.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JACUSTOMER-f4y332lu- replied 9 months ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am the Certified Fraud Examiner who will be assisting you today.

I just want to make sure I am understanding the situation correctly here. So are you saying that the U.S. Postal Inspector has called you personally to tell you that your package was confiscated and a warrant was issued to open the package?

Also, can you tell me about the person who sent you the package, meaning

-Do you know the sender personally?

-Have you met them in person before?

-Why was the package being sent with the cash hidden in a hardback book?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.


My name is ***** ***** I am a criminal defense attorney.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

From what you are telling me, the Postal Inspector was able to get a warrant based on the fact that drug sniffing dogs believed that there was contraband in the package. That gives them the probable cause to open the package.

From there, even if there are no drugs in the package, if the authorities believe -- as is typical when a person sends or receives large amounts of cash through the mail -- that money is the fruit or the instrumentality of a crime, they can seize that money under Federal forfeiture laws.

That said, they cannot take it away from you without due process of law. You have the right to a hearing on this and to try to show that the money came to you from a lawful source and for a lawful reason.

Whether you try to claim this money or not doesn't change the picture. The government will likely continue its investigation. You do have rights and they give you options: you can do nothing at all, in which case you'll forfeit the money. Or you can try to claim that money.

If you wish to do the latter, you'll be entitled to a hearing where you can be represented by counsel and attempt to demonstrate that this money has nothing to do with illegal activity. If you prevail, you'll get your money back. If you don't, the government gets to keep the money and anything you say in the proceedings can be used against you if indeed you end up prosecuted later on.