918 F.2d 310 (1st Cir. 1990), 90-1323, United States v. One Dairy Farm

Docket Nº:90-1323.
Citation:918 F.2d 310
Party Name:UNITED STATES, Plaintiff, Appellee, v. ONE DAIRY FARM, etc., Defendants, Appellees. Appeal of Arnaldo and Eric ORTIZ CAMERON, Claimants.
Case Date:November 09, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
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918 F.2d 310 (1st Cir. 1990)

UNITED STATES, Plaintiff, Appellee,

v.

ONE DAIRY FARM, etc., Defendants, Appellees.

Appeal of Arnaldo and Eric ORTIZ CAMERON, Claimants.

No. 90-1323.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

November 9, 1990

Heard Oct. 5, 1990.

Luis A. Delgado Rodriguez and Hiram Lazado, for appellants.

Eduardo E. Toro Font, Asst. U.S. Atty., with whom Osvaldo Carlo Linares, Acting U.S. Atty., was on brief, for plaintiff, appellee, U.S.

Before TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge, TIMBERS, [*] Senior Circuit Judge, and CYR, Circuit Judge.

TIMBERS, Circuit Judge:

Appellants Arnaldo and Eric Ortiz Cameron appeal from an order entered February 16, 1990, in the District of Puerto Rico, Jaime Pieras, Jr., District Judge, dismissing appellants' claims to property seized by appellee United States pursuant to an in rem civil forfeiture proceeding.

On appeal, appellants assert that forfeiture is too harsh a remedy for the relatively minor transgression of filing a late claim. Accordingly, appellants request that we reverse the district court and allow their claims to proceed on the merits.

For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the order of the district court.

I.

We shall summarize only those facts and prior proceedings believed necessary to an understanding of the issues raised on appeal.

This appeal arises from an in rem forfeiture proceeding brought by the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. Sec. 881(a)(6) (1988). In its complaint, the government

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alleged that the defendant properties were proceeds traceable to the sale of controlled substances.

Luis Hiram Ortiz Cameron (Cameron), the owner of the defendant properties, allegedly was involved in smuggling controlled substances into Puerto Rico through a clandestine airstrip. The government estimated that Cameron was receiving between $30,000 and $75,000 per month from 1984 to 1988. In one 1988 drug transaction, he purportedly received the equivalent of $240,000. Cameron invested his money in the defendant properties which included, among other things, cattle, real estate and prized lottery tickets. Prior to his involvement at the airstrip, Cameron was either unemployed or working at low-paying jobs. He subsequently was indicted in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico for his role in importing drugs through the airstrip.

Appellants Arnaldo and Eric Ortiz Cameron are brothers of Luis Cameron. The record does not demonstrate that either brother has sufficient legal earnings to claim ownership of the $3,000,000 in the defendant properties. Nor does either brother have a recorded proprietary interest in any of the seized properties.

The government filed the instant forfeiture proceeding on November 3, 1989. Arnaldo Ortiz Cameron was served personally with the pleadings by United States...

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