November 20, 2003

Prosecutor Seeks Forfeiture Of Farm, Cars, Cash In Drug Case

Jail time and fines are not the only penalties that a trio of local residents could face if found guilty of drug charges stemming from an arrest October 9 in rural Scotland County.

Petitions for forfeiture have been filed with the Scotland County Circuit Court pursuant to the Criminal Activity Forfeiture Act (CAFA).

Under Missouri Revised Statute Section 513.607, all property of every kind, including cash or other negotiable instruments, used or intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through criminal activity is subject to civil forfeiture. Civil forfeiture shall be had by a civil procedure known as a CAFA forfeiture proceeding.

Scotland County Prosecuting Attorney Kimberly J. Nicoli filed the CAFA papers seeking forfeiture of a number of vehicles, cash and property associated with the seizure of an alleged marijuana manufacturing operation.

On October 9 the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Scotland County Sheriffs Department arrested Jerry W. Cochenour, Brenda D. Cochenour and Gary L. Holt, all of Arbela, on a number of drug-related charges and confiscated materials and property directly related to the charges.

Separate CAFA papers were filed against both Jerry and Brenda Cochenour on property owned jointly by the husband and wife. The court is seeking forfeiture of a 1997 ATV, a 2000 ATV, a 2001 Oldsmobile Intrigue, a 2000 Ford F-350 Truck, $34,501.93 in U.S. currency and the couples home and farm, a total of 242 acres near Arbela.

The CAFA papers filed on Gary Holt are seeking forfeiture of $7,928 in U.S. currency that was confiscated at the time of his arrest.

The CAFA filings are civil actions tied to the criminal proceedings against the individuals. If the defendants are found guilty of the criminal charges, the court will then issue a decision on the CAFA petitions.

Proceeds from the sale of the forfeited items, minus any storage cost incurred by the law enforcement agencies, is turned over to the state education fund.

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