A Los Angeles federal judge has rejected a request to overturn a $566,000 jeopardy assessment by the Internal Revenue Service against the holdings of former federal drug agent Darnell Garcia, a fugitive since Nov. 22 in a major drug corruption probe. U.S. District Judge William J. Rea rejected a petition by the ex-agent's wife, Adeline Garcia, despite noting that he had "many questions about the government's case" in moving to seize Garcia's assets.
A hearing on the tax matter produced testimony that IRS agents filed the tax lien after being told that alleged associates of Garcia and "somebody" resembling Garcia had 150 kilograms of cocaine for sale in 1985. The IRS estimated the income from the sale at $3.4 million and based the assessment on that figure. Attorney Mark Borenstein, representing Adeline Garcia, had urged Rea to "at least" reduce the assessment to $49,000 allegedly owed in taxes for 1985. Borenstein said the case will be taken to the U.S. Tax Court. At issue is whether the government can seize Garcia's $581,000 home in Rancho Palos Verdes.
The former agent is charged with conspiring to sell cocaine and heroin with two other former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, John Anthony Jackson and Wayne Countryman.