Deputies can continue seizing cannabis cash from armored cars, judge rules

A federal judge has refused to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would stop federal and San Bernardino County authorities from seizing cash from armored car company, Empyreal.

Empyreal filed suit after the seizure of more than $1 million in cash that the company was transporting for marijuana dispensaries. The seizures were conducted by the FBI along with San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies.

Empyreal has accused the law enforcement agencies of defying a federal law that prevents the Justice Department from using resources to interfere with state-legal marijuana businesses. But Judge John W. Holcomb noted that Empyreal’s statements suggest at least some of the businesses it works with may not be licensed.

The judge was also annoyed by Empyreal’s counsel, which sought an emergency TRO after he ruled that the matter would not be handled on an emergency basis.

“Empyreal may very well have an excellent case on the merits — the court respects Empyreal’s zeal and does not doubt its sincerity — but Empyreal’s counsel does their client no favors by cutting procedural corners and ignoring the court’s guidance,” Holcomb said.

Empyreal’s lawyers continue to pursue the case.