Federal agents have officially seized an Ector County adult bookstore and shut it down after the owner forfeited the business when he pleaded in September.
B&L Bookstore, 5890 W. University Blvd., was forfeited by Jimmy Wayne Wright after he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute bath salts. Wright was sentenced Jan. 3 to 20 months in federal prison, three years of supervised release after his sentence and a forfeiture of the store as well as $763,865.20.
Though the store was forfeited in September when Wright was sentenced, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Klassen said it takes time before the government physical takes control of a forfeited property.
“The law requires we do a series of postings to the public to basically tell the world, ‘Hey, does anyone else have a claim on this property,’ ” Klassen said. “There are time limits to put in claims. That’s why it doesn’t happen immediately.”
U.S. Marshal Brent Sheets said the department official took control of the property around 10 a.m. Friday; with agents leaving a note on the building stating the business was under government control. The agents also left a copy of the judgment of furniture, which was signed June 20 by U.S. District Judge Robert Junell.
“We take possession of it, we hire a prospect manager, then we’ll auction it off or sell it,” Sheets said.
Since pleading, the business remained open, which Klassen said the government couldn’t stop until they had “physical possession” of the store.
Wright’s wife, Sharon Wright, was also listed in the judgment; however, attempts to reach to her at her home were unsuccessful Monday because of a no trespassing sign. Calls made to her listed attorney, William R. Bowden Jr, were not returned Monday.
The Ector County Appraisal District states the business was appraised at $16,000 in 2013. Ector County Chief Appraiser Karen McCord said there were six total properties in government control in Ector County.
“It doesn’t happen very often here,” McCord said.