Cops Can Steal Your Money At The Airport Even If You have Carried out Nothing Unsuitable

We’re not precisely strangers to the idea of civil asset forfeiture, however that doesn’t imply it stops being irritating to examine folks having their issues stolen for no motive. Take, for instance, the automotive dealer highlighted in a recent Atlanta News First article. He was flying from Washington, D.C. to Sacramento, California and had a connection by way of Atlanta. As he was boarding his flight to Sacramento, officers with the drug job pressure pulled him apart and proceeded to take $23,850 in money from considered one of his luggage.

Did he have any medicine in his possession? Nope. Had he really performed something unlawful? Nope. A TSA agent simply noticed he had money in his bag and narc-ed on him. The cops mentioned his luggage smelled like weed, so they only took his cash. He was by no means arrested or charged with a criminal offense, and leisure marijuana is authorized in D.C. By flying “from Atlanta, a recognized drug hub metropolis, to Sacramento, California, a recognized drug supply metropolis,” the prosecutor claimed that was sufficient of a motive to warrant taking his money.

“There was nothing unlawful or suspicious within the scent of marijuana on the Claimant’s belongings,” the person’s legal professional wrote when requesting his a reimbursement. “If the Claimant had smoked marijuana, he had legally performed so in one other jurisdiction … no foundation for a seizure in Georgia.”

The dealer was capable of present receipts that proved he had earned his cash legally, and ultimately, the court docket agreed to return his cash. Simply not all of it. He received $17,887.50 again, however the county nonetheless stored $5,962.50. Why? That’s not clear, however we’re going to imagine they only needed it.

To be clear, having greater than $10,000 in your possession shouldn’t be unlawful. There are many completely respectable causes you may carry that a lot money, resembling once you’re touring to purchase a automotive from a non-public vendor. Nonetheless, attributable to civil asset forfeiture legal guidelines, cops can simply take your cash at any time when they really feel prefer it. As Dan Alban, an legal professional with the Institute for Justice, informed Atlanta Information First:

There is no such thing as a technique of transporting money or storing money that police won’t say triggers possible trigger. This particular person was sporting his sneakers on his toes, and that’s one thing that’s a typical attribute of drug traffickers. In fact he was, as a result of that’s how everybody wears sneakers. This man had cash in an envelope, and that’s a attribute of drug traffickers. It’s additionally a attribute of what number of different folks transport money.

There’s a robust incentive for regulation enforcement to attempt to get as a lot cash as it may possibly into what I might name a slush fund. They will spend the cash on no matter they need. And that encourages them to spend the cash pursuing extra forfeiture {dollars}. Primarily, it’s a self-perpetuating, revenue-generating machine.

In order that’s enjoyable. We’d like to imagine that the Supreme Court docket goes to step in and cease this nonsense quickly, however one thing tells us that’s not going to occur. Not whereas cops stay so highly effective and politically influential.

In Aircraft Sight, half two: Police can take your cash with out an arrest