United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division
Decided: March 24, 2014.
For United States of America, Plaintiff: Peter M Nothstein, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rod J Rosenstein, Stefan Dante Cassella, Office of the United States Attorney, Baltimore, MD.
Karen L. Kimble, Claimant, Pro se, Owings Mills, MD.
Abdul Zakaria, also known as Tamim Mamah, Claimant, Pro se, Winton, NC.
William D. Quarles, Jr., United States District Judge.
The United States filed a complaint for forfeiture of $41,320 in United States currency seized during the execution of a search warrant. ECF No. 1. The Court entered an order of forfeiture. ECF No. 8. Abdul Zakaria, pro se, moved to set aside the forfeiture, and the Court denied the motion. ECF Nos. 9, 12. Pending is Zakaria's motion for relief from the Court's order denying his previous motion. ECF No. 18. No hearing is necessary. Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.
I. Background 
On May 13, 2011, Zakaria was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration for possession with intent to distribute heroin. ECF No. 1 at 4. On July 7, 2011, he was indicted for conspiracy to distribute heroin, and pled guilty on September 21, 2011. Id. On July 29, 2011, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the home of Karen Kimble, Zakaria's wife, for evidence of perjury and marriage fraud. Id. at 4-5. Officers seized $41,320.00 from a gym bag. Id. at 5. Kimble initially said that the money did not belong to her, and she had obtained it from a person named " Enoch" at her husband's direction. Id. On September 30, 2011, Kimble asserted that she owned the money and had obtained it as part of an insurance settlement for an electrical fire in her home; she said that she and Zakaria planned to use the money to buy a truck. Id.
On December 8, 2011, Zakaria told law enforcement agents that Kimble had given him the seized money to start a business, and he had given the money to Enoch to hold. Id. at 5-6. He had asked Kimble to meet Enoch to retrieve the money. Id. at 6. However, he denied that he planned to use the money to buy a truck. Id. He also acknowledged that he had not started the company with the money. Id. During that conversation, which occurred " after the property was seized but before the Government filed its forfeiture complaint," the agents " discussed the seizure of the defendant property" with Zakaria. ECF No. 21 at 7. Zakaria did not indicate that he " intended to contest the forfeiture of the defendant property." Id. at 6.
On May 14, 2012, the government filed a verified complaint for forfeiture of the money under 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(A) and (C) and 18 U.S.C. § 983. ECF No. ...