NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A man who was caught driving through Nacogdoches County with a quarter-million dollars is now facing federal charges, despite escaping felony charges in Nacogdoches County last month.
Henry Korvett Bams, 40, of Milwaukee, Wisc., and Frederick Mitchell, 42, of Chicago, are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aide of a racketeering enterprise.
In started on July 6, when a Nacogdoches-based DPS trooper stopped a 2014 Buick on US 259 north of Nacogdoches for speeding. Bams was the driver and Frederick Mitchell, 42, of Chicago, was the passenger. A search of the vehicle revealed $252,611 in cash and a small amount of marijuana hidden in luggage in the trunk area of the Buick.
According to a federal complaint, the Nacogdoches County District Attorney's Office negotiated a settlement with Bams on July 9, with Bams agreeing to give up $100,000. The DA's office also dropped the charges against Bams and Mitchell.
District Attorney Nicole LoStracco explained that in order for a charge of money laundering to be convicted, the state has to prove the money was used for contraband. LoStracco said there was no way in this case for that to be proven.
Instead, the state filed a civil case for the cash.
"There is a lesser burden to prove in a civil case," LoStracco said. "We can file a civil case for any property we believe is used for anything illegal."
LoStracco said they were able to settle with Bams for $100,000. Only 30 percent of that could stay in the county, because the case came from DPS. LoStracco said Bams claimed all the cash was his.
On July 22, Bams was stopped by an Arkansas state trooper in Hot Springs County. The trooper reported Bams gave conflicting stories regarding the travel and the trooper searched the vehicle and found 10 kilograms of cocaine hidden in compartments in the rear quarter panels.
A further investigation led to the discovery of nine cellphones and two banking deposit slips. They show that funds deposited on July 18 were exactly $25,000 less than the amount returned by the district attorney's office.
On July 30, the DEA searched Bams' home in Wisconsin and found his W-2s, which indicate he made just $25,000 in 2011 and $28,000 in 2012.
"We don't have the subpoena power to go into another state," LoStracco said. "It's great that the federal government can prosecute these kind of cases. They ultimately got arrested again and it doesn't matter to us who ultimately gets the credit. There's no ego here and everyone gets behind it to see this kind of case through."