|DA Must Return Property Seized During Raid!|
Posted by FoM on May 29, 1999 at 07:29:57 PT|
Source: Lancaster On Line
A county judge Thursday ordered the Lancaster County district attorney's office to return thousands of dollars in cash, cars and precious metals taken from a Willow Street man arrested for marijuana possession during a 1995 drug raid.
It was later discovered that one of the detectives conducting the raid had stolen precious coins from the man.
Judge Lawrence F. Stengel ordered the immediate return of the items to Edward C. Stark Sr. Stark proved to the court that property seized by Jack O. Edmundson Jr., a former detective for the Drug Task Force, was not purchased with money made from alleged drug sales. The property included:
180 ounces of platinum.
$4,122 in cash.
$11,000 in Series EE savings bonds.
A 1975 Corvette.
A 1996 Pontiac Trans Am.
A $29,500 certificate of deposit payable to Stark and his daughter.
Also, all other legal items confiscated by the Drug Task Force.
"We provided the district attorney's office with complete and accurate documentation tracing the funds used to buy the platinum and other negotiable securities," said Stark's attorney, Alan G. Goldberg. "As a result, the commonwealth realized they could not meet their burden of proof and agreed to the order that returned the property to Stark, his brother and other family members."
Lancaster County District Attorney Joseph Madenspacher agreed.
"Mr. Stark acquired these assets legally," said Madenspacher, who represented the county. "This entire investigation was severely compromised by the allegations and subsequent plea by Jack Edmundson to the theft of some of the property."
A condition of Stengel's order requires Stark to drop his federal civil suit against the county and the Drug Task Force.
The suit, however, remains active against the Bank of Lancaster County and Edmundson, Goldberg said.
Stark, who is serving two years' probation for marijuana possession, declined comment following the hearing.
He has long contended that he and his brother purchased the platinum from the proceeds of their mother's estate.
Edmundson was one of the task force detectives who raided Stark's home in 1996. He subsequently inventoried Stark's safety deposit box at the Willow Street branch of the Bank of Lancaster County.
When Stark received a copy of the inventory sheet, he noticed that there were only 180 platinum coins listed, not the 200 he and his brother had purchased.
Several days later, Edmundson sold 10 of the coins to an East Hempfield Township coin dealer for $3,670.
As details of the theft became public, another suspected drug dealer came forward, claiming Edmundson had stolen several prepaid telephone calling cards during a November 1995 drug raid.
In September 1998, Edmundson, 28, of Latrobe, was convicted of two counts of theft by unlawful taking for stealing the coins from Stark and using telephone calling cards seized from John Anderson of Paradise.
Judge Michael J. Perezous subsequently sentenced Edmundson to one to two years in prison and ordered him to pay about $8,400 in restitution and fines.
Comment #1 posted by edward stark on April 05, 2000 at 07:59:35 PT:|