District Judge Gary L. Sharpe
The government sought civil forfeiture of funds in Alvarado’s inmate account, seized by the Inspector General’s Office in 2010. The government’s evidence showed the account’s use to further a conspiracy to distribute drugs at the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility. Despite challenging the sufficiency and admissibility of the preponderant evidence, Alvarado failed to offer evidence showing that summary judgment in the government’s favor was improper. The court granted the government summary judgment, noting that given the government’s proofs and Alvarado’s May 2011 guilty plea to criminal possession of a controlled substance, it was hard pressed to see how Alvarado could establish an innocent owner defense. In demonstrating a connection between the property and offense, so as to satisfy 18 USC §983(c)(3)’s requirements, the government presented testimony from Alvarado’s girlfriend and co-conspirators that Alvarado’s girlfriend had picked up a package of heroin from a co-conspirator who received more than $11,000 from Alvarado while he was in prison, and that the drugs were later distributed at Alvarado’s request.