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Ryan Mathison

Ryan Mathison is escorted out of the federal building in Sioux City in May 2007 after being sentenced to 31 years in prison for trafficking drugs. Mathison has sued the federal government and two assistant U.S. attorneys, claiming they illegally seized $50,000 he had received in a settlement of a previous lawsuit against the government.

Jerry Mennenga, Sioux City Journal file

SIOUX CITY -- Convicted drug ring leader Ryan Mathison has sued the federal government and two U.S. attorneys he claims illegally seized settlement money he received in another lawsuit and applied it toward a personal money judgment stemming from his drug conviction.

Mathison is asking a judge to issue an injunction preventing the government from the "self-help seizure" of his money in the future and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Mathison, who is representing himself, also is seeking a judge's ruling to void the $400,000 personal money judgment ordered against him in 2007, arguing that the statute that authorizes criminal property forfeitures cannot be used to obtain a money judgment against a person for property not in his or her possession.

The money judgment would allow the government to continue to threaten the seizure of money he receives from third parties or accumulates on his own years from now after his release from prison, Mathison said in his lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Sioux City.

Mathison, 49, of Sioux City, was sentenced to 31 years in prison in May 2007 after a jury found him guilty of overseeing a drug ring that transported 4,400 pounds of marijuana from Mexico to Sioux City from 2001 through February 2006. Mathison's conviction was later upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. A motion to reduce his sentence was denied in 2015.

In April, he reached a $50,000 settlement agreement of a 2012 civil rights lawsuit he had filed against the government, claiming that prison officials at the Pekin Federal Correctional Institution in Illinois did not obtain emergency medical assistance and thus delayed treatment of a heart attack he had in 2010, causing permanent heart damage.

Mathison, who is now housed at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Lisbon, Ohio, says in his recent lawsuit that assistant U.S. attorneys Joshua Grant and Marty McLaughlin and others unknown to Mathison agreed among themselves to seize his settlement funds by use of an unlawful warrant and without any legal process in order to partially satisfy the personal money judgment filed in 2007 by U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett, who had ordered forfeiture of $400,000 in profits from Mathison's criminal activities.

During the investigation into Mathison's drug activity, federal agents seized two limousines from Mathison's former limo service and two personal motorcycles because they were believed to have been bought with profits from the sale of marijuana. Those items were auctioned off for more than $111,000.

Mathison also was ordered to forfeit the property that housed his former business, Stereo Town, at 504 Court St. and a house in the 1700 block of Harris Street.


Court reporter

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