210 F.3d 387 (9th Cir. 2000), 99-55062, U.S. v. $379,535.00

Docket Nº:99-55062.
Citation:210 F.3d 387
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. $379,535.00 U.S. Currency; One Mercedes Benz 500 SEC, Vin No. WDBCA44D, Cal. Lic. # 3GGV347, Defendants,and Christopher FOSTER, Claimant-Appellant.
Case Date:January 21, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 387

210 F.3d 387 (9th Cir. 2000)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

$379,535.00 U.S. Currency; One Mercedes Benz 500 SEC, Vin No. WDBCA44D, Cal. Lic. # 3GGV347, Defendants,and

Christopher FOSTER, Claimant-Appellant.

No. 99-55062.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

January 21, 2000

Submitted January 18, 2000. 2

D.C. No. CV-96-06473-SVW-1

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA9 Rule 36-3 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Stephen V. Wilson, District Judge, Presiding.

Before BEEZER, O'SCANNLAIN, and THOMAS, Circuit Judges.

MEMORANDUM 1

Christopher Foster, a federal prisoner, appeals pro se the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the United States in the government's action pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(4), (a)(6) for the civil forfeiture of $379,535.00 in U.S. Currency and One Mercedes Benz 500 SEC vehicle. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.

The district court's determination of the existence of probable cause in civil forfeiture proceedings is reviewed de novo as a question of law. See United States v. Real Property Known as 22249 Dolorosa St., Woodland Hills, Cal., 167 F.3d 509, 513 (9th Cir.1999). We also review de novo the district court's order granting summary judgment. See United States v. U.S. Currency, $30,060.00, 39 F.3d 1039, 1041 (9th Cir.1994).

To establish probable cause, "the government must show that it had reasonable grounds to believe that the [seized asset] was related to an illegal drug transaction, supported by less than prima facie proof but more than mere suspicion." United States v. $5,644,540.00 in U.S. Currency, 799 F.2d 1357, 1362 (9th Cir.1986). Circumstantial evidence of drug transactions may support the establishment of probable cause. See United States v.1982 Yukon Delta Houseboat, 774 F.2d 1432, 1434 (9th Cir.1985).

The district court properly determined the totality of the circumstances demonstrated probable cause that the seized assets were substantially connected to the sale of controlled substances. See United States v. One 1986 Ford Pickup, 56 F.3d 1181, 1187 (9th Cir.1995) (per curiam). The district court relied on...

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