The $90,000 in cash found on Saturday, March 16, 2002, at Wilmington’s Wal-Mart, 5226 Sigmon Road, was never claimed by its “owner” according to Drug Enforcement Agent Michael Franklin who replaced the original DEA agent, Jon Wilson, on the scene seven years ago.
The packaging of the money, mostly hundreds, along with several pieces of electronic equipment, was turned over to the City-County Vice and Narcotics Unit and eventually was taken by the DEA after drug-sniffing dogs discovered traces of illegal narcotics on the money.
Wal-Mart ran numerous ads in local and national papers, including USA Today, asking individuals to come forward to claim the money, but there were no takers. Eventually becoming a cold case, the Wal-Mart security guard who found the cooler of cash filed a claim to collect the $90,000, but after wrangling with lawyers and red tape it was determined that finders doesn’t necessarily mean keepers. (Anytime drugs are involved in a situation such as this, it will often go back to the government or local agency, and not the finder.)
Ultimately, it was forfeited to the government through the asset forfeiture fund and determined that the New Hanover Sheriff’s Department and the Wilmington Police Department, which had also filed a claim for the funds, would share the total.
Date posted: August 19, 2009
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