Court rules gov’t can keep money seized in drug bust, even after suspect acquitted

DOVER — A Dover man acquitted of drug charges and convicted of weapons offenses was denied in an attempt to regain $13,584 seized during a search warrant execution at his home in 2015, according to a Superior Court ruling issued last week.

Jeffrey Crippen was not entitled to three bundles of cash seized by Dover Police due to lack of documentation and proof that the money was legitimately earned, President Judge William L. Witham Jr. asserted in a 16-page order, .

While Crippen claimed in a 2017 petition that he received all the funds two years earlier, he testified at trial that some of the money was received as early as 2012 through work and personal loans, according to the Court.

The petitioner could not document a supposed $5,000 personal loan allegedly received, the court said, nor a business it was purportedly intended for, the judge determined. There was no evidence to support an alleged second $5,000 personal loan as well, the order stated.

“The Court finds it incredible that (the money was allegedly loaned in 2013), but then two years later, the money would be part of a collection of funds stored in a home that had been broken into multiple times, instead of a secure location like a bank,” Judge Witham noted.

Crippen did not petition for $54, and the remaining $3,530 could not be proved to be legally acquired, according to the order.

There was no proof of employment from 2012-13, the judge found, no “sufficient evidence (provided) that the cash was related to legitimate non-criminal sources” and “incomplete proof of ownership of the funds.”

The initial confiscation was allowed based on legitimate probable cause, according to the Court.

According to the Delaware Department of Justice, Crippen, 50 at the time, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for weapons charges.

He also received six months in a halfway house following maximum incarceration and then two years of probation.

Deputy Attorney General Greg Babowal argued for the state in the petition case, with Crippen representing himself.

Staff writer Craig Anderson can be reached at 741-8296 or canderson@newszap.com,

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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