$47, 940.00 U.S. Currency and Dustin Sorhaindo, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana and Indiana State Police, Appellees-Plaintiffs.
from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Patrick J.
Dietrick, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49D12-1512-MI-42103
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Bradley Keffer Brooke Smith Keffer
Barnhart, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Andrea E. Rahman Deputy Attorney General
OF THE CASE
Appellant-Defendant, Dustin Sorhaindo (Sorhaindo), appeals
the trial court's order granting transfer of $47, 940.00
to the United States under Indiana Code section
We reverse and remand.
Sorhaindo presents two issues on appeal, which we consolidate
and restate as the following single issue: Whether the trial
court properly granted the State's notice to transfer the
seized funds when there was similar action pending in another
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On June 30, 2015, Detective Brian Thorla (Detective Thorla)
and other officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police
Department were given verbal consent to enter and visually
inspect suspicious parcels at a local shipping company in
Indianapolis, Indiana. During the inspection, a parcel
addressed to Sorhaindo was singled out for further
investigation. Detective Thorla, a certified K9 handler, used
a certified K9 to conduct a narcotic examination of
Sorhaindo's suspicious parcel and a few others. The K9
gave a positive indication of a controlled substance in
Sorhaindo's package. On the same day, the State opened a
miscellaneous criminal case in Marion Superior Court,
Criminal Division, Courtroom 6, under Cause number
49G06-1506-MC-022791 (MC-22791), and applied for a search
warrant. Sorhaindo's name was not included in the caption
of the search warrant application. In the probable cause
affidavit supporting the search warrant application,
Detective Thorla described the parcel as a "Brown Box
with black duct tape . . . ADDRESSED TO: Dustin Sorhaindo,
FedEx Office and Print Cent[er], 935 W Huntington Dr.,
Monrovia, CA 91016[, ] (404) 840-6835 and Dustin Sorhaindo
125 W. Olive Monrovin, CA 91016, " and with
"TRACKING # 8077 8940 5551." (Appellant's App.
Vol. II, p. 16). Detective Thorla further averred that the
suspicious package was being shipped to California, "a
State known by [the officers] to be a source state for the
importation/exportation of controlled substances."
(Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 16). Detective Thorla added
that he had probable cause to believe that the parcel
contained controlled substances based on the narcotic search
conducted by his certified K9. The trial court granted the
warrant and limited the "search for controlled
substances, records of drug trafficking, and proceeds of drug
trafficking." (Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 19).
When the officers opened the package, they found socks
stuffed around another heavily taped box. The search of the
second box yielded several folders with various papers, and
underneath the folder, there was United States currency in
the amount of $47, 940.00. No controlled substances were
found in the package.
On July 2, 2015, under cause number MC-22791, the State filed
a Notice and Motion to Transfer Seized Property to the United
States. In the motion, the State
referenced the search conducted on June 30, 2015, pursuant to
the search warrant in which IMPD officers searched
Sorhaindo's package and seized $47, 940 of United States
currency. The motion to transfer further stated that the
money was "confiscated as proceeds of narcotics
trafficking . . . and money laundering."
(Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 74). In paragraph 8, the
State indicated that a "copy of this Motion has been
sent by certified mail, prior filing with the court, to both
the sender and receipt at the addresses listed on the parcel
in order to provide notice to the parties of the State's
intention to transfer." (Appellant's App. Vol. II,
p. 74). The record shows that the State's notice on the
motion to transfer seized property could not be delivered to
the different addresses listed on Sorhaindo's package and
was subsequently returned on July 9, 2015.
On September 2, 2015, Sorhaindo's attorney wrote an email
to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office stating,
"[We] have been retained as local counsel to handle the
Turnover re:  Sorhaindo's seizure. We'll be getting
our appearance and objection to the turnover on file
shortly." (Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 49). The
Prosecutor's Office responded back stating, "Status
update: After  shuffling around from person to person, we
have located the correct person willing to fix this issue as
it involves JTAC, ISA and Odyssey. She is hopeful that this
will be resolved by the end of the week. I will give you
instructions on how to proceed when I get them."
(Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 49). In reply,
Sorhaindo's counsel wrote, "Great! I want to get my
objection on file, but should I continue to hold off until
you give me the high sign?" (Appellant's App. Vol.
II, p. 49). The Prosecutor's Office confirmed,
"[T]hat is accurate because at this moment it will be
rejected by the court no matter where you file it."
(Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 74). There was no further
communication between the parties on this issue.
On December 22, 2015, the State filed a Complaint for
Forfeiture against Sorhaindo in Marion Superior Court, Civil
Division, Courtroom 12, under cause number
49D12-1512-MI-042103 (MI-42103). The complaint referenced the
search conducted on June 30, 2015, where the IMPD officers
seized $47, 940.00 in United States currency while conducting
a criminal investigation. The following day, under MI-42103,
the State filed a Notice and Motion to ...