Armored vehicle company resumes operations after resolving lawsuit with San Bernardino County Sheriff – Daily Bulletin

An armored vehicle company will resume service in San Bernardino County after resolving a federal lawsuit that accused sheriff’s deputies of illegally seizing $1.1 million worth of medical marijuana products from two of its vehicles Last year.

Last month, Pennsylvania-based Empyreal Logistics dismissed the Justice Department, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration from the lawsuit after the government agreed to return all confiscated money. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department also dropped its legal claims to the money.

“The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the executives of Empyreal Enterprises, LLC recently engaged in meaningful conversations regarding the circumstances of the traffic stops that led to Empyreal’s recent litigation,” the department said in a statement Friday. .

“Both parties understand that each acted in good faith when the judgments were made and reached an agreement that will allow both parties to move forward amicably. Both parties also recognize that Empyreal is part of the solution to help with financial transparency and that the San Bernardino deputies are not highway robbers as previously reported in the media.

The sheriff’s department said its narcotics division will continue to crack down on illegal marijuana grow operations and related criminal enterprises.

Empyreal chief executive Deirdra O’Gorman said she was pleased the dispute over the foreclosures had been resolved.

“Empyreal, our financial institution customers, and their state-licensed cannabis customers operate within the law, which is why we’ve chosen to challenge the San Bernardino County foreclosures in court,” it said. she said in a statement. “Now that the funds have been returned and after meeting with the Sheriff, we are confident that we can continue to serve lawful state businesses without future disruptions.”

San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon D. Dicus previously described Empyreal’s lawsuit as a “crusade of special interests” and a blatant attempt to “interfere with ongoing local criminal investigations,” but did not did not provide specific details.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department leads the Regional Inland Narcotics Team, which also includes state and federal agencies such as the DEA and FBI,

Through the US Department of Justice’s Fair Share Program, the Sheriff’s Department’s participation in IRNET allows it to receive up to 80% of proceeds recovered from civil forfeitures. He would have raised around $800,000 had the Empyreal seizure been successful.

The sheriff’s department received about $1.7 million in fair share funds in 2021, according to the Justice Department. The funds were used

Although medical and recreational marijuana is legal in California, the federal government classifies all marijuana, along with heroin and cocaine, as an illegal Schedule I drug with high abuse potential and little or no medical benefits. As a result, individuals could be charged with a federal crime for activities that are legal under state law.

Empyreal’s lawsuit alleged that on Nov. 16, 2021, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Franco conducted a traffic stop of a company driver for allegedly driving too close to a semi- trailer on the highway.

A search warrant shows the sheriff’s department claims it was entitled to seize $700,000 in cash from the vehicle because there was probable cause to believe a crime had been committed.

The same group of deputies, including supposedly Franco, seized $350,000 from another Empyreal vehicle on Dec. 9 without obtaining a search warrant, according to the suit.

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