posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 12:47 PM
In a new twist, the Department of Homeland Security has siezed control of 43 oil wells in Pennsylvania. The siezure is related to a 1981 marijuana
smuggling conviction and subsequent forfeiture of $50M in assets in 1998. Additionally, $5.5M in assets from bank accounts and other business
interests have been seized bringing the total siezure amount to ~$70M.
The federal government has seized control of 43 oil wells in northwestern Pennsylvania that it says were financed with drug money laundered by a
Florida marijuana smuggler in the 1970's, officials said Tuesday.
The federal government has never before taken control of oil wells as part of a money laundering investigation, said officials with the Department of
Homeland Security, which ran the investigation.
The investigation stems from the 1981 drug smuggling conviction of Paul E. Hindelang, who ran one of the country's biggest marijuana smuggling
operations from Florida in the 1970's. After serving time in prison, Mr. Hindelang went on to a successful business career in California and built
Pacific Coin into one of the country's biggest pay-phone operators. Many of his business associates were unaware of his criminal past until it
resurfaced in 1998, when he agreed to forfeit $50 million in drug assets that the authorities said he had stashed away in overseas accounts years
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Though I understand the federal government's interest in siezing funds which were gained through illegal activities, it is troubling that no money
laundering charges have been levied against Mr. Hindelang to support these siezures. Strangely, due process seems only to apply to criminal charges
and not asset forfeiture. One wonders how much of this individual's fortune the feds have their eye on and whether they will ever stop "chasing the
money" in this case. There has to be a point where the ill-gotten gains have been completely siezed and this individual should be allowed to live his
life and enjoy his remaining assets and freedom. Who knows if that point will ever be reached.