Thursday, September 15, 2011

Khouli +3 Update: Salem Alshdaifat’s Coin Inventory Returned

Salem Alshdaifat’s attorney sent two letters on August 17, 2011 to complain that coins seized from his client were not properly cared for by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and to request an inspection of the items after an initial effort to examine the coins resulted in objections from federal officials. Alshdaifat’s lawyer asserted that his client possessed documentation to prove bona fide ownership of the property. The court treated the correspondence as a motion for return of property.

A federal district court in Michigan issued an order on September 6 that recognized the issue as moot. That is because the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and Alshdaifat’s attorney reportedly reached an agreement to return the inventory. The terms of that agreement are unknown.

Meanwhile, highlights of the letters written by Alshdaifat's legal counsel reveal the following:

• “[T]he agents took the entirety of Mr. Alshdaifat's business inventory and related documentation . . . .”

• “Mr. Aishdaifat operates an ancient coins business from his home in Orchard Lake, Michigan. He has been in the business of trading ancient coins ever since he left his home country of Jordan more than ten years ago. He has been a student of numismatics his entire life. On July 13, 2011, federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") raided his home and seized his entire inventory of ancient coins, estimated at over 7,000 coins, and other property.”

• “ICE and CBP had decided to transfer custody to the ICE case agent in Brooklyn, New York all of the seized property from the four seizures of Mr. Alshdaifat's property that occurred in the Detroit area. These include: (1) the December 20, 2010 seizure of ancient coins at the Detroit Metro Airport; (2) the December 2010 seizure of two mail packages that were voluntarily brought by Mr. Alshdaifat to ICE offices in Detroit and [an agent]; (3) the February 2011 seizure of a Federal Express package for export to Singapore; and (4) the July 13, 2011 seizure of thousands of coins and other property from Mr. Alshdaifat's . . . home.” (For information related to most of these seizures, see the September 23, 2011 blog entry here).

• Additionally, through his attorney, Alshdaifat advised federal officials to store groups of coins “in open containers, not in closed plastic bags.” “The coins,” he said, “should also be stored in a dry environment, preferably with a dehumidifier.” He further recommended that authorities “[s]eparate the "diseased" coins from the rest. These coins can be identified by the green powdery substance on the surface of the coins. . . . The diseased coins should be handled with gloves, and when doing so agents should avoid exposure in closed areas with little air circulation.” Alshdaifat also advised that “[t]he silver and gold coins should be kept in individual coin holders” and that coins found in acid baths “needed to be washed in hot, running water and dried individually.” Finally, he requested that “[t]hose coins with soil incrustation should be separated from others with similar incrustation. Because soil taken from different places consists of various different minerals and it would be impossible to know if incrusted coins came from the same soil, those coins that are incrusted should simply be separated to avoid any chemical reaction from the interaction of different soil minerals.”

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