21 U.S.C.S. § 881(a)(7) states in pertinent part: The following shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States and no property right shall exist in them. . . . (7) All real property, including any right, title and interest . . . in the whole of any lot or tract of land and any appurtenances or improvements, which is used, or intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, a violation of this title punishable by more than one year's imprisonment, except that no property shall be forfeited under this paragraph, to the extent of an interest of an owner, by reason of any act or omission established by that owner to have been committed or omitted without the knowledge or consent of that owner.
Appellant filed a complaint seeking civil forfeiture of property under 21 U.S.C.S. § 881. The complaint alleged that the property, on which a pharmacy was located, was transferred to appellees. The complaint asserted that appellee husband had used the property for the illegal diversion of various pharmaceutical drugs. Husband pled guilty to drug-related counts. Appellees answered the complaint, alleging that appellee wife was an innocent owner under section 881(a)(7). The district court dismissed the complaint. The appellate court reversed the dismissal.
Did the district court err in dismissing the complaint seeking civil forfeiture of a property used for illegal diversion of pharmaceutical products?
The equities entitled government to forfeiture of appellee husband’s interest if it was subject to forfeiture, irrespective of appellee wife’s innocent owner defense.