The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles misled the judge who signed a search warrant that led to more than $86 million in cash being seized, the Los Angeles Times reported. FBI agents suspected criminal activity at U.S. Private Vaults, a Beverly Hills store with more than 1,000 private safe-deposit boxes. The FBI opened its investigation into the business after local law enforcement and federal agents spotted suspected drug dealers and purchasers walking in and out of the store. FBI agents suspected criminal activity at the store because customers would arrive in cars with out-of-state license plates or rental cars, according to the search warrant affidavit. “Based on my training and experience in money laundering investigations, Chicago, Illinois, is a hub of both drug trafficking and money laundering,” FBI agent Lynne Zellhart wrote. “I believe these patrons were using their USPV box to store drug proceeds.” Zellhart also claimed that the only people renting a box anonymously from the Beverly Hills storefront are “those who wish to hide their wealth from the DEA, IRS, or creditors would.”
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