United States District Court, District of Columbia
D. Bates United States District Judge.
the Court is  the United States' motion for entry of
default judgment in this civil forfeiture action in rem
against defendant property consisting of $36, 047.00 in U.S.
Currency (the “Defendant Funds”). Law enforcement
seized the Defendant Funds on or about November 24, 2017
while investigating a shooting in Southwest, Washington, D.C.
Officers made a plain-view discovery of narcotics and drug
paraphernalia in an apartment and obtained an emergency
search warrant of the residence. Executing the warrant,
officers recovered multiple firearms, ammunition, two digital
scales, approximately five pounds of marijuana, and the
Defendant Funds. See Compl. [ECF No. 1] ¶¶
9, 13. The leaseholder of the residence, Toria Harris, filed
a claim of interest in the Defendant Funds with the Drug
Enforcement Administration. Id. ¶¶ 10, 17.
August 10, 2018, the United States filed a verified complaint
alleging that the Defendant Funds are subject to forfeiture
under 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6), as property furnished or
intended to be furnished by any person in exchange for a
controlled substance or listed chemical, as proceeds
traceable to such an exchange, or as property used to
facilitate such an exchange, all in violation of the
Controlled Substances Act codified at 21 U.S.C. §§
801-971. See Compl. ¶ 1.
August 15, 2018, the United States posted notice of this
action on the official government forfeiture website,
www.forfeiture.gov, for thirty consecutive days pursuant to
Rule G(4)(a) of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or
Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions
(“Supplemental Rules”). See Aff. in
Supp. of Default [ECF No. 5] ¶ 7. On or about
August 15, 2018, the United States also served notice and a
copy of the complaint on all three known potential claimants
as required by Supplemental Rule G(4)(b). See id.
¶ 5. No. person filed a verified claim, so the Clerk of
this Court entered a Default on November 9, 2018.
See Clerk's Entry of Default [ECF No. 8]. The
United States now requests that the Court enter a default
judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 and order
forfeiture of the Defendant Funds to the United States.
See Pl.'s Mot. For Entry of Default J.
party has sought to claim or defend the Defendant Funds, and
the time to do so has long since expired. See Supp.
R. G(5)(a)(ii). Although one potential claimant, Toria
Harris, filed a claim of interest in the Defendant Funds with
the Drug Enforcement Agency prior to this civil action,
“the filing of the earlier administrative claim is not
a substitute for the claim that must be filed with the
court.” United States v. Thirty One Thousand Eight
Hundred Fifty Two Dollars & Thirty Eight Cents ($31,
852.38) In U.S. Currency, 183 Fed.Appx. 237, 241 (3d
Cir. 2006) (quoting David B. Smith, Prosecution and
Defense of Forfeiture Cases § 9.04); see
also United States v. U.S. Currency in the Amount of $2,
857.00, 754 F.2d 208, 212 (7th Cir. 1985) (“An
administrative claim does not give the claimant any rights in
the judicial condemnation proceeding; it only [e]nsures that
a judicial proceeding will take place before the property is
party or putative party filed a pleading to challenge
forfeiture of the Defendant Funds, or otherwise attempted to
enter this case; the complaint states a claim for relief
consistent with Supplemental Rule G(2)'s pleading
requirements; and the government complied with Supplemental
Rule G(4)'s notice requirements. Accordingly, the United
States is entitled to a default judgment under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 55(a). See United States v. $1, 071,
251.44 of Funds Assoc. with Mingzheng Int'l Trading
Ltd., 324 F.Supp.3d 38, 45-46 (D.D.C. 2018). This Court
finds that the Defendant Funds are proceeds from, or property
used to facilitate, violations of the Controlled Substances
Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801-971, and are thus subject to
forfeiture to the United States under 21 U.S.C. §
881(a)(6). Hence, this Court grants the United States'
motion for entry of default judgment and orders the
forfeiture of Defendant Funds to the United States. A
separate order will issue on this date.
 The Affidavit erroneously states that
any verified claim in response to the notice by internet
publication had to be filed no later than September 13, 2018,
see id., but that error is of no consequence. First,
the service by publication, in compliance with Supplemental
Rule G(5)(a)(ii)(B), accurately informed the public that any
person claiming a legal interest in the Defendant Property
had “60 days from the first day of publication (August
15, 2018)” to file a verified claim. See
Service by Publication [ECF No. 7] at 2. Second, the
Affidavit and the government's more recent motion for
entry of default judgment state that “no potential
claimants have claimed an interest or otherwise defended the
action.” See Aff. in Supp. of Default ¶
2; Pl.'s Mot. For Entry of Default J. [ECF No. 9] at 1.
The real deadline for filing a claim ...