IBJNews

Prosecutors want to keep $3.4M from El Rodeo raids

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Prosecutors have filed lawsuits seeking to keep more than $3.4 million seized during police raids last fall at about two dozen Mexican restaurants across Indiana.

Civil forfeiture lawsuits have been filed in Tippecanoe and Marion counties, accusing the restaurant owners and others involved with the businesses of illegally obtaining the money.

The Tippecanoe County lawsuit accuses at least 25 restaurants of carrying out offenses including money laundering and falsifying tax documents. It doesn't detail the allegations.

No criminal charges have been filed stemming from the November raids and the investigation continues, Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington told the Journal & Courier.

The raids involved several El Rodeo restaurants in the Lafayette, Indianapolis and Richmond areas, along with restaurants under the El Jaripeo, Los Toros or La Carreta names around Indianapolis, northwestern Indiana and Vincennes in southwestern Indiana.

The Associated Press left a message Wednesday seeking comment from Richard Kiefer, an Indianapolis attorney for the restaurants.

Jose Bustos, manager of the El Rodeo restaurant in West Lafayette, is named as one of the individual defendants. He said he wasn't aware the lawsuits had been filed.

"I don't have any comments right now because our lawyers are still working on it. They don't tell us anything," Bustos told the Journal & Courier.

State Attorney General Greg Zoeller said that to win the civil forfeiture case, prosecutors must prove that the money was obtained illegally.

"The object of civil forfeiture is to take away the ill-gotten gains and put [the assets] into the criminal justice system," he said.

The lawsuit also asks that the defendants be ordered to give up any interests in the named restaurants and that the owners be prevented from reorganizing their businesses.

The suit seeks the revocation of any professional licenses the defendants obtained from the state.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Follow the Law
    There is some question whether the civil forfeiture law is even constitutional as Indiana's constitution says that the Common School Fund will be made up of ALL forfeitures. Nonetheless, even if it is, the law says law enforcement can only keep civil forfeiture proceeds to offset costs of the action and the rest is supposed to go to the Common School Fund. From my research, the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor was one of those not turning over the money. Same with the Marion County Prosecutors and virtually every county prosecutor in the state. They're simply pocketing 100% for themselves and the law enforcement agencies in their county. It's a shame that people who take an oath to uphold the law and the Constitution are so willing to violate it.
  • Countersue
    Sounds like the prosecutors were targeting latino businesses. I'd consider a 1983 counter action if I was their attorney.
  • Civil forfeiture abuse
    Civil forfeiture laws are routinely abused in this state. Don't know what's going on with El Rodeo, but money and property can be seized before a criminal case is even filed. Google it and see how the laws enrich police departments and even private attorneys.
  • *
    By filing a lawsuit - which they did.
    • How..
      How can you take and keep money if charges haven't been filed ??

      Post a comment to this story

      COMMENTS POLICY
      We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
       
      You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
       
      Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
       
      No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
       
      We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
       

      Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

      Sponsored by
      ADVERTISEMENT

      facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
       
      Subscribe to IBJ
      1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

      2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

      3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

      4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

      5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

      ADVERTISEMENT