- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - The state of Indiana is suing to retain ownership of 458 silver bars valued at $220,000 that were seized from a northern Delaware County property in November.

A forfeiture lawsuit filed on behalf of Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold shows the state also wants to take possession of coins valued at several thousand dollars. The items were found during a search of 140 acres south of Wheeling where authorities were looking for human remains, The (Muncie) Star Press (http://tspne.ws/1VTKrbR ) reported.

An informant told Muncie police that the land’s former owner, James “Buddy” Reynolds, ran a large-scale marijuana distribution operation and allegedly buried the body of an associate he killed there.

Property alleged to be tied to criminal activity can be seized to pay for law enforcement expenses in forfeiture actions, and the state’s lawsuit claims Reynolds, who died in 2012, engaged in criminal activities, including “the sale of large quantities of marijuana and money laundering.”

The lawsuit states that Reynolds often paid “cash for precious metals such as gold and silver” in an effort to hide his profits from the marijuana operation, in which a Mexican drug cartel was involved. It argues that the silver bars and coins on the property, which now belongs to Reynolds’ nephew, were derived from Reynolds’ criminal activities and are “subject to forfeiture.”

The current property owner has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit or a judgment will be made for the state’s demands, according to a notice from Delaware County Clerk Michael King.

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Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com

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