The DEA arrested her boyfriend, accusing him of selling drugs, and when they did that they also took her SUV that she used for her business. When she couldn’t get it back, she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to find out if the government could keep her vehicle.

If Derica is in a kitchen, her face is smiling.

Derica Wallace: “I love to cook.”

And she is lucky because she has turned her passion into profit.

Derica Wallace: “Make a great living off of it. I cater different events. I cater for children parties. I’ve done weddings.”

Successful because D’s Delights has found a niche.

Derica Wallace: “So it’s soul fusion. I just, I can cook anything. I fuse anything together, and it’s just going to be good for your soul.”

Talk cooking and you can see the joy in her face. Talk about the reason we we’re there, and it disappears.

Derica Wallace: “I came to the door, and I’m like, who is it there? They said it’s the Police. I Said, OK. I opened the door.”

The DEA had come to arrest Derica’s boyfriend for drug dealing. When they took him away, the also confiscated Derica’s 2021 SUV.

Patrick Fraser: “Did you know he was dealing drugs?”

Derica Wallace: “No, no idea.”

Patrick Fraser: “Why shouldn’t the DEA keep the truck?”

Derica Wallace: “I didn’t have anything to do with any drugs. It was used for catering purposes, picking up kids.”

A month went by, Derica not only couldn’t get her truck back. She didn’t even know where it was.

Derica Wallace: “I’ve called the, it’s a federal line that they have. I’ve called anybody that I can think of that could possibly help me locate my truck.”

Without her SUV, her business is like a dish left in the oven too long: drying up.

Derica Wallace: “I was paying over $1,700 within a month and a half on car rentals but I am also still paying a car note and insurance on my truck.”

She still owes $40,000 on that SUV without it, her bright future seems cooked.

Derica Wallace: “I feel like I’m a victim because of his mistakes, and they’re placing it on me by being associated with him.”

Well, Howard, you are a criminal lawyer, can law enforcement keep your property because a partner is an accused drug dealer?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “It depends, if you knew of illegal activity or allowed your car to be used in a crime, they can keep it, and they don’t have to prove you did. You have to prove you did not. One more thing, if you owe money on the vehicle, the government has to pay it off if they keep it, and sometimes they decide it’s not worth it and return it, but of course, if you didn’t know anything, you get it back.”

I contacted the DEA and they were very helpful.

Derica got a call from an agent, she was told her SUV would be released to her. A few days later, it was raining but Derica lit up her SUV with that smile.

Derica Wallace: “Yes, I got my truck, I’m happy.”

Derica can get back to work, cooking, catering and chasing her dream of one day opening her own restaurant with a little help from Help Me Howard.

Derica Wallace: “That was one of the best adult moves ever made thus far in my life. I’m glad. It saved me a lot of stress because I was really stressed.”

Glad you got your SUV back, Derica, and in what kind of crimes can the government seize your car, your home, your money?

Crimes that make you money, like drug dealing, money laundering, fraud and many more. Maybe that’s why they say crime doesn’t pay.

A problem left you boiling over? Don’t put it on the back burner. Let us cook up a solution and serve it up for you.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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