Man Gets Back Property, Weed, $150,000 Cash in Rare Win Against Asset Forfeiture


By Joe Klare

Earlier this year, a man named Shaun Smith was raided by local law enforcement in Oceanside, CA. When all was said and done, police had taken 3 ounces of cannabis concentrates, 55 pounds of cannabis and over $43,000 of his medical marijuana collective’s cash-on-hand.

Not content with that, authorities seized everything else they could get their hands on, including a Toyota truck, guns, ammunition, a motorcycle and $110,000 from Shaun’s bank account.

That sucks for Shaun. However, he was found not guilty of possession for sale and manufacturing in 10 minutes by a jury since he was operating a legal marijuana collective under California law. And Shaun also has a lawyer who knows his business: Michael Cindrich.

After the verdict, Cindrich went after authorities, demanding the return of Shaun’s property. Police tried to get away with giving back everything except for the motorcycle and the $150,000 in cash; they did not want to give that up. But Cindrich, using loopholes and mistakes by authorities, climbed that wall too. The local District Attorney’s office is now in the process of returning the last of Shaun’s property to him.

Civil asset forfeiture is one of the tools used by law enforcement to pad their budgets and achieve some sort of victory when they can’t secure convictions. But in reality, it’s just another way for the state to rob someone who hasn’t been convicted of a crime.

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