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She’s now back to her old routine of driving it to her job as a maintenance worker at Trinity Washington University in the mornings, returning home for a break in the afternoons, and then commuting to her part-time night job as a cleaning woman at the U.S. Treasury Department.

Speaking through her son as an interpreter, Ms. Moreira said her experience should show that the forfeiture process should be changed.

“There should be some sort of investigation on the matter for why the car was taken away,” Mr. Moreira said. “She’s worked too hard for them to keep something that she sacrificed a portion of her life for.”