Highway Robbery

There's really nothing else you can call it:

Anastasio Prieto of El Paso gave a state police officer at the weigh station permission to search the truck to see if it contained "needles or cash in excess of $10,000," according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the federal lawsuit Thursday.

Prieto told the officer he didn't have any needles but did have $23,700.

Officers took the money and turned it over to the DEA. DEA agents photographed and fingerprinted Prieto over his objections, then released him without charging him with anything. Border Patrol agents searched his truck with drug-sniffing dogs, but found no evidence of illegal substances, the ACLU said.

[...]

DEA agents told Prieto he would receive a notice of federal proceedings to permanently forfeit the money within 30 days and that to get it back, he'd have to prove it was his and did not come from illegal drug sales.

They told him the process probably would take a year, the ACLU said.

Wasn't this kind of crap supposed to stop after the 1997 federal forfeiture reforms?

Apparently not. Perhaps some drug warrior can explain to me how this kind of thing can possibly be justified. Should people who carry large sums of cash just assume that there's a small chance the government will simply steal it from them at gunpoint?

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  • ||

    Should people who carry large sums of cash just assume that there's a small chance the government will simply steal it from them at gunpoint?



    Of course! Governments are like any gang that makes its living via extortion. A successfull criminal is one that does not pass up an opportunity take money if he or she can get away with it, and the Federal Government of the United States is one of the most successful criminal enterprises in history, with their ability to murder tens of thousands of people and extort trillions of dollars worth of protection money every year.

  • ||

    Sam Lowry: I only know you got the wrong man.
    Jack Lint: Information Transit got the wrong man. I got the *right* man. The wrong one was delivered to me as the right man, I accepted him on good faith as the right man. Was I wrong?


    Law Enforcement Bureaucracy, protecting us from and making us all into criminals.

  • ||

    I'm waiting for them to unveil their best plan yet against drug trafficking: blow up Earth.

  • ||

    Free men carry cash. It can't be traced, and cash transactions can't be taxed, except if the holder volunteers the details of how he got the money. It is in the government's interest to reduce the use of cash to petty transactions such as grocery purchases. Making it risky to carry large amounts of cash will push everyone into the purview of big brother.

  • ||

    What could one possibly do with $23,000 in cash other than buy or sell drugs (aside from the many legitimate commercial uses, such as buying legal things, financing legal things, investing in legal things, downpayment on a house, buying a car, getting a start in life, mutual funds, starting a business and male to female gender reassignment surgery)?

  • shecky||

    I recently bought a house for my mother and needed to close one bank account, as I needed the money for a down payment. Not quite $23k but close. The goofy bank had a printer problem and couldn't print out a cashier's check, but offered to give me the amount in cash.

    Prieto's exact scenario went through my head, and I decided to postpone the transaction until they could give me a check. I thought I was being silly after walking out the door, and would have turned around to get the cash, but I had some other things to do and it was getting late.

    Maybe I shouldn't second guess myself so much.

  • G||

    How do you prove a negative?

  • Dave B.||

    By proving an incompatible positive, such as where the money did come from other than drug sales. I hope he keeps better track of his reciepts and what not than I do.

  • G||

    It still wouldn't prove that "that" money did not come from illegal drug sales.

    Somehow, I don't think showing the DEA your tax forms showing how much money you made would be sufficient proof.

    Can anyone prove how the hard currency in their pockets was made?

  • Anonymous Bastert||

    Sounds like G has something to hide!

  • ||

    Some years ago a Hispanic man passing through on the interstate was pulled over by state police. A search revealed a large amount of cash hidden in clothing. The man claimed and appeared to be on his way to Central America. The money, he said, were accumulated savings by family and friends to be delivered home.
    He was arrested and during that procedure signed a receipt for the seized amount of cash.
    If I understand it correctly, his signing the receipt, triggered a law now requiring him to prove legal ownership if he wanted the money back, rather than the State having to prove illegal ownership so they could keep it.
    The man was deported within two days. There followed a semi-public, pretty ugly fight involving the local prosecutor, representing the county, and the State as to who would get what share of the "proceeds of illegal activity, most likely drug dealing".

  • ||

    If the DEA applies the same logic to bullion, they can rake in a ton at the Oscars.

  • ||

    The guy is an idiot. Anyone carrying that amount of money and consents to a search of their vehicle deserves to have it seized.

    Not that it's right, of course.

  • ||

    And just by an amazing coincedence, his legal fees come out to $23,700.

    Have a nice day.

  • LibertyPlease||

    The guy is an idiot. Anyone carrying that amount of money and consents to a search of their vehicle deserves to have it seized.



    I agree. What does he think he is, a free man? I say lock him up for being naive.

  • Fluffy||

    I honestly can't understand how this isn't an immediate and obvious 7th Amendment violation.

    The 6th and 7th Amendments are nearly as abused as...well, as all the others.

  • ||

    LibertyPlease,

    I know I was being harsh (I'm on his side), but people everywhere need to know this: You NEVER consent to a search of anything. Ever. Even if you really have nothing to hide. Hell, ESPECIALLY if you have nothing to hide. Throw downs do happen.

  • Willys||

    When the IRS fails, resort to back up.

    Congress... 535 reasons to support term limits, with no benefits.

  • ||

    I've been hasseled by LEO's about cash before. No way in HELL I'm going to believe someone who wants to seize a large amount of my money - when I'm not obviously doing anything wrong - is acting in good faith. I call that armed robbery.

  • ||

    sage, I mostly agree with your advice never to consent to a search, because it's not likely to make the situation any better. But if a policeman's willing to "throw down" something illegal and claim he found it in a search of your vehicle, what makes you think he wouldn't search anyway and claim you had consented?

  • ||

    A couple of years back some clients of mine sold several acres of land to an older gentleman who paid $35,000 for it - in cash.

  • Nobody Important||

    martin | August 25, 2007, 8:05am

    Some years ago a Hispanic man passing through on the interstate was pulled over by state police. A search revealed a large amount of cash hidden in clothing....



    This?

    United States of America v. $124700 in U.S. Currency, mentioned previously at Reason.

    Yes, that was the actual name of the case; the legal reasoning being that people have rights, but the money does not.

  • David Hardy||

    My former law partner defended a similar case here -- confiscation of $10,000 cash on no evidence beyond it was in a car, and he was within 20 miles of the border. He won and got its return.

    I thought it quite strange that the government issues currency, it bears the words "good in payment of any debt public or private," yet having too much of it is taken as evidence of criminal purpose.

  • thoreau||

    Can you refuse to consent to a search? I mean, you can say the words "I do not consent" but if the cop decides to search anyway you certainly can't get in his way.

    So you can utter the words, but what do they matter?

  • ||

    Pause. Think.
    If they're that concerned about 'cash' transactions, think about how much they DO know about all other transactions.

  • ||

    Why is this an issue? Did you miss the part about proving it was his? If he isn't up to anything illegal it's as simple as proving it is yours. How someone can have that kind of money without proof of where it came from is beyond me, unless it is illegal. Trying to make an emotion appeal about this is just silly. It's not about having too much money, it's about not being able to answer questions honestly and completely.

  • Mike Rentner||

    Yes, you can and should always refuse consent to be searched. You have nothing to gain by being searched. In order to search your car they need probable cause or a warrant. If they're bothering to ask you for consent, that means they don't have either.

  • ||

    Thanks Don. You had to go there and ruin my whole day. :)

  • ||

    Balko in only quoting the ACLU has once again posted a biased story without all the information. It is no wonder he came to the conclusion based soley on the ACLU'S account. No account from the police report or DEA case is quoted. Jee.. Does Balko have his own agenda?

  • gahrie||

    I'll see your highway robbery, and raise you state sponsored bank robbery. (they call it escheatment)

    http://www.carepublic.com/blog.html?domain=tom_mcclintock&blog_id=88&category_id=&start=0&arcyear=&arcmonth=&curyear=&curmonth=&curday=

    Lesson? Don't leave money or real property in a California bank for more than 2 1/2 years.......

  • ||

    truthsword - it is insidious. If I wear some expensive jewelry must I always carry receipts? If cash is legal tender then it is legal tender and not sort of legal until the government doesn't want it to be legal and decides to take it away with the burden of proof on the person with the money and not the government.

  • Fluffy||

    "Why is this an issue? Did you miss the part about proving it was his? If he isn't up to anything illegal it's as simple as proving it is yours. How someone can have that kind of money without proof of where it came from is beyond me, unless it is illegal. Trying to make an emotion appeal about this is just silly. It's not about having too much money, it's about not being able to answer questions honestly and completely."

    No, it's about the fact that the state cannot assess any criminal or civil penalty on a citizen without first supplying them with a jury trial, per the 6th and 7th Amendments.

    Just seizing the money and saying, "Hey, there's a process you can go through to get it back if you want," is a clear violation of these protections, and any court that holds that it is not is corrupt and illegitimate.

  • ||

    Jee.. Does Balko have his own agenda?

    Yes, Balko must have something out for seizing people's property and/or forcibly preventing them from trading drugs.

    We're onto you, Balko!

  • SWLiP||

  • ||

    Read thru this thread and I have to wonder, why has not anyone raised the fundamental question as to whether Prieto has to prove anything? The government is making an accusation by inference that he is dealing in drugs. The State has the burden of proof that the monies are not tainted.

  • ||

    Actually it's the fifth amendment.

    'nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law'

    He's been deprived of property prior to any due process.

  • samgrove||

    If they keep printing money at the rate they have been, eventually you'll need $23,000 to go to the grocery store.

  • ||

    This sort of thing inspires me to start dumping tea in the harbor. But I doubt I could get a permit for that because I can't afford to pay for the environmental impact study. And there's no way it could be done dressed as Indians excuse me native Americans.

  • ||

    Why is this an issue? Did you miss the part about proving it was his? If he isn't up to anything illegal it's as simple as proving it is yours. How someone can have that kind of money without proof of where it came from is beyond me, unless it is illegal. Trying to make an emotion appeal about this is just silly. It's not about having too much money, it's about not being able to answer questions honestly and completely.

    This should be very simple to do. Just use the method from my yoot' that was used to settle currency disputes on the playground.

    "Oh yeah? Prove it. What year is on this bill?"

    So simple it's child's play.

  • ||

    I thought that in this country you were innocent until proven guilty. The gov't has to prove that you (or your cash) are guilty of something. When did all this change?

  • poco||

    You NEVER consent to a search of anything. Ever.

    Likewise, you may refuse to answer any but the simplest questions until your lawyer is present. It would probably be smart to keep a defense atty's number in your cell phone, even if you've never met him/her. (I know one socially but haven't yet had to use him, TG.)

    Can we get together and sponsor a billboard with this info on the 405 or I-95 or something?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    This is the reality of our Holy War on Drugs. Because keeping some druggie from snorting a line of meth is well worth tossing your American birthright onto a funeral pyre that was torched with the Bill of Rights. We once fought a revolution over this kind of crap.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Heffalump.....

    When did all this change?

    Right after you got that B+ in HS Civics.

  • ktc2||

    The whole concept of charging "property" with a crime is ludicrous. Mens rhea anyone? Did the cash know it was guilty?

    lol

  • ||

    Nobody Important,

    This?

    United States of America v. $124700 in U.S. Currency, mentioned previously at Reason.


    No, the case I referred to never made it to any formal charges or let alone trial. The man was deported 2 days after being picked up on I 81 passing through the 20-odd miles of WV.

    It's obvious: If there had been any evidence, wouldnt it be expected that charges would follow? Instead the whole thing was sort of hush-hushed and had it not been for the various agencies fighting over the spoils, nobody would remember it.
    Our great, independent and investigative local paper, the Martinsburg Journal, regularly publishes fawning supportive articles on the police. I don't expect critical review from them.

  • GeoffB||

    It's not the Government's money; it's your money to begin with.
    - George W. Bush to some Rotary Club

    I guess the guy should have joined Rotary or the Chamber instead of being a trucker.

  • ||

    Fluffy et al.,

    The Bill of Rights is not an issue, since the govt is not taking legal action against the person, but the property, which doesn't have any constitutional protections from being "punished" by being confiscated. Since the action is a civil suit (to which the person from whom the property was seized is only a 3rd party) rather than a criminal prosecution, the burden of proof is not on the govt.

  • ||

    If the guy shows that it did not come from drug sales but from terrorist sources, will that allow him to get it back?

  • ||

    The poor 'chabo' is not necessarily either an idiot or a crook. Most Mexicans do not trust banks, the direct result of the Peso collapse in the mid-'80s.

    Even today, almost a generation later, only 20% of Mexicans have bank accounts. If you work or travel in Mexico, outside the tourist areas -- as I have done extensively for nearly a generation -- you'll see concrete re-bar sticking up everywhere. This is because beyond a certain point Mexicans will almost always 'deposit' their cash in expanding and improving their home.

    This is their bank account, just as in much of Africa it's livestock. Most Americans have no idea what it's like to live where (or when) you can't trust banks. We may, like my grandfather (who raised three kids in the Depression), have the unenviable opportunity to find out.

    That guy was moving from Point A to Point B with his cash because he didn't trust banks, and didn't have what he felt was a safe place to leave it.

  • ||

    I notice that joe "the government can do no wrong" has been noticable silent on this thread. Can't anyone defend the state in this case?

  • ||

    Isn't this similar to the IRS charging you for a crime because you are spending more money than you report on your income tax returns?

    Are you not automatically guilty of tax fraud if you can't prove where your money came from in that situation?

    Isn't that how they got Al Capone?

  • ||

    Mr. Wood,

    I don't recall joe ever saying anything approaching "the govt can do no wrong". I'm all for picking on joe, but let's do it for the crazy things he really does say.

  • ||

    Likewise, you may refuse to answer any but the simplest questions until your lawyer is present.

    Actually, if you visit flexyourrights.org you will see examples of scenarios with the proper responses. The proper response to any question is a question of your own, such as "are you detaining me, or am I free to go?"

  • Shannon Love||

    In the hope of providing background, I would note that people do a lot, if not most, business in Mexico on a cash only basis. Mexico just doesn't have the legal infrastructure yet to support a reliable checking system for small businesses or individuals.

    In my experience people often take thousands of dollars back for across the border to purchase items such as cars despite the danger of robbery.

  • William Oliver||

    Actually, not using cash doesn't protect you. When I was a physician in the Army, a significant part of my pay was in the form of retention bonuses (the military was having a hard time keeping physicians at the time). My wife and I decided to buy a house. When we tried to get a mortgage, we ended up having to delay the closing because we had these deposits of $20,000 in my bank account, and I had to prove that it was not drug money. SO much for cash -- they tried to freeze my bank account.

    I had to prove to the government that the government had paid me.

  • ||

    If he isn't up to anything illegal it's as simple as proving it is yours. How someone can have that kind of money without proof of where it came from is beyond me, unless it is illegal. Trying to make an emotion appeal about this is just silly. It's not about having too much money, it's about not being able to answer questions honestly and completely.

    What makes it any of their business where he got it?

  • Antarctic Penguin||

    "Are you not automatically guilty of tax fraud if you can't prove where your money came from in that situation?"

    Joel, I thought we were supposed to have an "innocent until proven guilty" justice system. You should not have to prove that you did NOT commit murder.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The Bill of Rights is not an issue.......

    Crime, I know where you're going with that line of thinking but I'm going back to BEFORE there was a legal action. To the search and the seizure, both of which were unconstitutional. No matter that the intimidated trucker gave permission, there was no initial probable cause or warrant.

    [blood pressure skyrockets as veins pop out on my forehead]

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Are you not automatically guilty of tax fraud if you can't prove where your money came from in that situation

    Absolutely. At least where civil tax fraud is alleged. Criminal tax fraud, no.

    And anyone with any experience in explaining cash transactions to an auditor will immediately realize the difficulty involved in proving a negative. IE, the money did not come from illegal activities, or, in the case of taxes, that the money was not taxable income.

    I have had clients who were audited by IRS for simply taking a few thousand dollars in cash out of their accounts a few times during the year. That was before Patriot.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Matter of fact, I recently had a client who was stung by IRS when he repaid a long standing loan he made to his corporation at start-up twenty years ago. It was documented properly and the company paid interest payments every year. But, he no longer had the bank records and canceled checks from 1987 to "PROVE" that he, in fact, loaned the money to the company. Banks only keep records for 7 years. IRS claimed it was all income to him that year. I got them to call it a dividend instead of a bonus (lower tax rate) and got them to subtract the interest payments he had been taxed on previously. Still a suck deal to pay taxes on money you already paid taxes on.

    For those who can't fathom why it's hard to prove the money is legit, that's a sample of how things work in the real world.

    Not to mention that he shouldn't have to prove the cash was his to begin with or that it should take up to a year to get it back.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Matter of fact, I recently had a client who was stung by IRS when he repaid a long standing loan he made to his corporation at start-up twenty years ago. It was documented properly and the company paid interest payments every year. But, he no longer had the bank records and canceled checks from 1987 to "PROVE" that he, in fact, loaned the money to the company. Banks only keep records for 7 years. IRS claimed it was all income to him that year. I got them to call it a dividend instead of a bonus (lower tax rate) and got them to subtract the interest payments he had been taxed on previously. Still a suck deal to pay taxes on money you already paid taxes on.

    For those who can't fathom why it's hard to prove the money is legit, that's a sample of how things work in the real world.

    Not to mention that he shouldn't have to prove the cash was his to begin with or that it should take up to a year to get it back.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Hey, that posted twice. Haven't had that happen in a while [shrugs] Probably my crappy ISP with it's stuttering delivery of Inet service.

  • Antarctic Penguin||

    Wine Commonsewer, so the IRS does not have to abide by the rules of the justice system? I.E. being innocent untill proven guilty?? God I'm glad I live in Antarctica.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    AP, no they do not have to abide by the rules of the justice system unless the IRS charges you with criminal tax fraud. The argument is familiar enough, since it's all administrative and civil in nature (and your aren't going to jail) there is no due process per se. Like building code violations and traffic tickets.

    Sometimes IRS will audit a suspect to get evidence of tax fraud and then it is turned over to the US Attorney. Sometimes that is done deliberately to take advantage of legal technicalities and sometimes it just works out that way as an auditor realizes he's stumbled upon tax fraud during a routine audit.

    Either way it seems clearly unconstitutional.

  • BruceM||

    I'm a lawyer, and I can guarantee you that "mere" possession of large quantities of cash is probable cause that drug crimes (at the very least conspiracy to launder drug money under 18 USC section 1956(h), a horrible catch-all provision).

    As of August 23, 2000, CAFRA requires the Feds to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the assets it seeks to forfeit (i.e. this guy's cash) is the proceeds of unlawful activity.

    The government will get a snitch to come in, testify that this truck driver had been transporting money for meth dealers for the past 6 years, and then they'll get to keep the money. They will either give the snitch a percentage of it, or they will reduce the snitch's prison sentence by at least 24%.

    It happens all the time. In America, it is de facto illegal to have more than a few thousand dollars cash in your car. For the feds, $10,000 seems to be a magic number because of all the Currency Transaction Report (CTR) requirements set at that amount (which do not apply to merely driving around inside the country).

    I do have a question: did this traffic stop at the "weigh station" take place at the border? If so, and if the truck driver was leaving or coming in to the USA with more than $10k cash, he would have violated the law by not filing a CTR declaring the amount. Then the money would be forfeitable rather easily. This took place in El Paso, Texas, so it very well could have happened at the border. If the article has left that important fact out, it has done a grave disservice to its readers.

  • BruceM||

    Ak, that first sentence was supposed to say "probable cause that drug crimes... have taken place."

  • atrevete||

    To buy property in Argentina you MUST have ALL the money in CASH. That's right, you show up to the closing with a satchel of pesos for the full price of the house. They don't do mortgages. There was a banking/currency crisis a few years ago and people lost about 2/3 of whatever was in the accounts. So no one trusts banks anymore.

    I'm catching the vein popping thing from Wine Con. I don't know what makes me madder, the gall of the authorities to demand "proof" that your cash wasn't from a drug deal, or the bootlicking lackeys who are not only intimidated into thinking that this is right and proper, but try to scold everyone else into the same sheep-like mindset.

  • severin||

    I wonder if he had $23,000 in gold bars if they would have been able to take that away from him? It seems like the answer would be no.

  • ||

    BruceM,

    I doubt it occurred at the border...why would they bother getting his consent when they can search your car without probable cause there?

  • ||

    Might as well get over the vein throbbing thing. This is not only no longer a free country, it's no longer a country with a significant number of people who want to be free. The old "Don't Tread On Me" flag has been replaced by one featuring a lapdog and "If You Didn't Do Anything Wrong, You Have Nothing To Be Afraid Of."

    America 2.0, get used to it.

  • ||

    Maybe.

    I'm always leery when an article quotes only one side of the issue. Note that the only "facts" mentioned are the ones that Prieto or his legal mouthpieces put out. And maybe he's telling "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth".

    Or maybe they're telling only part of the story. Frankly I'm not of the opinion that the average Texas State Police officer is trolling the highways looking for cash to seize from motorists.

    Maybe I'm wrong and this is a case of extremely overzealous cops and unresponsive bureaucracy. But there's just not enough in this one article to tell that.

  • jay||

    severin,

    as a matter of fact, they could take his gold, as well.

  • Nony Mouse||

    I had the same question as Bruce M. It's written so that it's the equivalent of US$10,000 in currency (not only US currency), but some people do end up carrying money across the border for the cartels. But when that happens, well, the busts I've heard of were a LOT larger than 20k.

  • ||

    I "might" have 90 Gs in the freezer. As an almost lobbyist wannabe would that arouse suspicions if, say, my home was invaded on a tip from "Somebody done me wrong" song? Is there a government hotline that could answer my question? Certainly I wouldn't want to be breaking any laws. If I had no cash could I be arrested as a vagrant?

  • ||

    Years ago when i was living in OKC a LEO pulled me over for turning into the far lane while making a right turn. Something, while technically a moving violation, a lot of people do but are never stopped for doing. It does offer a pretext for the stop. The problem was I was driving in an area known for drug trafficking. Unfortunately, my mother still lives there. Not that it matters but I don't drink, smoke or do drugs. The LEO asked if I would consent to a search. My reply was how did we get from you made an illegal turn to I want to search your car. He said he had a feeling I had something in my car and if I didn't have anything to hide I'd consent. I told him I respectfully didn't care what he thought i wasn't consenting to anything because if he had cause to search me he wouldn't be asking. After that my reply to any question he asked was " officer I refuse to consent to a search, I have your name and badge number, am I free to go or am I in custody? He was pissed but he let me go on with my business eventually. Don't give up your rights, make them justify themselves.

  • ||

    I grew up in Las Cruces, NM, just north of El Paso, and I never miss an opportunity to inform people that area became a police state decades ago. You could not drive out of that area on any major road without being stopped and questioned at permanent check points run by, at the time, the Border Patrol. If you were Hispanic they usually did a quick search of your car.

    That small twinge of impotent anger and fear as the agent approached your car was good preparation for America in the 21st century. But hey, sometimes they caught drug traffickers, so it was all worth it.

  • ||

    1) You can't prove a negative. Which is why the gummit has the burden of proof in criminal cases and why having to prove money did not come from illegal activity is so oppressive.

    2) The two other places where the feds have criminal jurisdiction, counterfeiting and treason, are closely defined in the constitution. Congress can only "punish" them. Uniquely, the constitution allows congress to both "define and punish" piracy. The reason is that piracy is essentially offshore and less likely to be abused.

    3) The supreme court case allowing civil confiscation of assets arose from a case involving a pirate ship in the late 1830's. It was never expected to apply to property in general. For one thing, Federal powers in general were quite limited and the "piracy" powers are quite specific.

    But then along comes the concept of the constitution as a more (er) flexible document and suddenly it does. The founders would have been appalled.

  • ||

    I had the cutest little pistol which was sold to me fair-and-square by a grandson of WWI hero, Alvin York. It was confiscated after a misdemeanor on my part involving use of aforesaid pistol.
    I never grokked that there confiscation.
    I never grokked a lot of things, maybe.

  • As in rectocranial inversion||

    The whole concept of charging "property" with a crime is ludicrous. Mens rhea anyone?


    Without the "h" it means "guilty mind"; with the "h" [and allowing for a quick ferry across the ancient Mediterranean] it would mean something like a mind that flows, a bit like, uh diarrhea. Very apt.

  • ||

    This is the biggest bullshit in the world. Completely unconstitutional. What. The. Hell. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence... true, they didn't find any evidence that he had drugs, but if he can't prove that he didn't have drugs, that means nothing. This is the same argument creationists use to justify their crap. "Well, there's nothing that proves there wasn't an intelligent designer, show me proof or else evolution is false!" Bullshit.

  • Fluffy||

    Buckland, I don't have to hear the other side of the story. All I have to know is that the guy wasn't given a jury trial.

    The Sixth Amendment makes it clear that all criminal proceedings require jury trials. If the government tries to pretend this was a civil proceeding [which is complete crap, because if your property is being seized because the state believes you have broken a law, that's a criminal proceeding plain and simple] then the Seventh Amendment says you get a jury trial if the amount at issue exceeds $20. More than $20 and no jury trial means I don't have to listen to anything the state trooper has to say.

    It boggles my mind that they wouldn't be too ashamed to dare to offer as ludicrous a legal justification as the one crimethink is quoting. If they can litigate with the property instead of with the owner of the property to get around the Seventh Amendment, why can't they do the same thing to get around the 4th Amendment? Do searches and seizures wherever they choose, then say that the true defendant was the property, and not the person who owned the property, so therefore the person has no standing to contest the searches. Or why not do it to the First Amendment? Seize books you don't like and burn them, and then if the owner of those books sues you say it's all just a legal matter between you and the books. Or do the same thing to the Second Amendment. Sue all guns for negligence and push their owners out of the way. What crap.

  • ||

    Around here, refusing to consent to a search is probable cause. The LEO on the scene will make up suspicious behavior if he wants to, or he'll call the K9s to swing by and have the dog bark / paw at an opportune time. This is the next county over from where a deputy pretty much committed a home invasion against a pair of old hippie war protesters on the advice of his National Guard buddy. The "rule of law" is a joke; try "rule by LEO".

  • ||

    My mom's job involves driving to group homes and such (nuthouses lol?) delivering medication to her patients, she carries hypodermic needles to administer this medication, and she carries the biohazard disposal box thingy in her car. So if some cop decided to search her car for needles they would find a ton of used ones. Then what? Throw her in jail for doing her job? Go chase some drunk drivers PIG.

    As for this other guy, hasn't he ever heard of a bank? I love cash, which is why I withdraw some on occasion. Was he driving to a dealership to buy a new car?

    Maybe he didn't fully comprehend the part about searching for cash in excess of $10,000 because he doesn't speak english. Or maybe he does and wondered what would happen if they did find the money. They couldn't just throw you in jail and confiscate your money if they find it in a search you consent to... can they? o_O

  • stunned||

    The LEO asked if I would consent to a search. My reply was how did we get from you made an illegal turn to I want to search your car. He said he had a feeling I had something in my car and if I didn't have anything to hide I'd consent. I told him I respectfully didn't care what he thought i wasn't consenting to anything because if he had cause to search me he wouldn't be asking. After that my reply to any question he asked was " officer I refuse to consent to a search, I have your name and badge number, am I free to go or am I in custody? He was pissed but he let me go on with my business eventually. Don't give up your rights, make them justify themselves.

    Yes, this exactly. It's not copping an attitude, it's being responsible for yourself. If you don't take the time to learn what rights you have, then you don't get to cry when you let an authority take advantage of what you didn't know. You have a right to say no, and then they have to articulate why they have a right to search your car. You don't have to be an ass about it, but you do have to stand your ground as this poster did here.

    As an aside...6 out of 10 times? That cop would catch a bad guy that way. Just something to think about.

    Throw her in jail for doing her job? Go chase some drunk drivers PIG.

    Being hystrionic is not actually conducive to a reasoned discussion about citizens' rights. She'd have ID, she'd have a uniform, she'd have her gear bag with her; she'd have plenty of ways to prove she's in the medical profession.

    And they're not "pigs", they're people. And if you were in danger, they'd risk their lives to save you, so maybe stuff the juvenile attitude.

    Sure, there are cops that are good and cops that are dirty, or "clean" but obnoxious or rude...just like people in every where on the planet. Law enforcement is neither exempt, nor especially susceptible simply by virtue of their job.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    If not at the border, I wonder if the search took place at one of those immigration check points that dot the Great Southwest that are many miles from the border and impede our free movement from time to time.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Around here, refusing to consent to a search is probable cause.

    That's pretty much everyone's take on it and why so many people agree to allowing searches in the first place. Espc if it's the Border Patrol. Everyone knows that if you don't let them do a quick look see that they'll do an all day search and you'll get your vehicle back with all the door panels in the trunk.

    That is probably why the truck driver consented in the first place to allow the BP to search his vehicle. Didn't do much good as he was detained for most of the day anyway and lost his money.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    That small twinge of impotent anger and fear as the agent approached your car....

    Know that well, get it every time I come back home from San Diego on I-15 and have to sit through the traffic jam at the BP checkpoint in Rainbow.

    Hard to keep my mouth shut but I do.

  • Homo economicus||

    I do not know this person who gave permission to the police; he may not have been very familiar with U.S. law or his rights under the 4th Amendment. However, this does illustrate the importance of refusing to give in an inch to the police in a case like this. Sign nothing without a lawyer present. Say nothing other than "I want a lawyer." Do not give in an inch.

  • Phelps||

    BruceM, it was at a weight station. Those are at state borders, not national borders. That means he was going Texas New Mexico. DOT regulations require commercial vehicles to stop and be weighed, and allow for a search of the vehicle to insure that the cargo matches the manifest. And the DOT has convinced itself that the "cargo" could be in the cab or on the driver, not just in the trailer.

  • Dave B.||

    Weigh stations also occur within states along highways, far from any border of any kind.

  • ||

    Can you refuse to consent to a search? I mean, you can say the words "I do not consent" but if the cop decides to search anyway you certainly can't get in his way.

    Nor, for that matter, can you record your conversation with the cop to prove your refusal to consent -- such recording seems to be an arrestable offense in many jurisdictions.

  • atrevete||

    . Law enforcement is neither exempt, nor especially susceptible simply by virtue of their job.

    ???Yes, the ARE especially susceptible because of the nature of their job. Precisely because of the nature of their job.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    "Nor, for that matter, can you record your conversation with the cop to prove your refusal to consent -- such recording seems to be an arrestable offense in many jurisdictions."

    Interesting, though it seems perfectly OK for the police to video you from the tops of stoplights and their own cars.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    atrevete, please, do tell us. What is the virtue of enforcing the whims of people who won popularity contests?

  • ||

    Er, be careful about making overly strong recommendations about being difficult with traffic cops. Obviously, if you've got drugs, large sums of cash, or illegal ferrets in your vehicle, you need to do everything you can to avoid a search.

    Otherwise, at a routine traffic stop or a DUI roadblock, the cops are just as anxious to get it over with as you are, and giving them a hard time is not a winning proposition. Unless, that is, you're certain that you're in compliance with every letter of your state and local phone-book-sized traffic codes.

  • Beck||

    I know a number of professional poker players who routinely carry around $20k+ in cash. They worry--rightly--about being robbed and take precautions against it. I don't think any of them (most of whom keep accurate records and pay taxes on their winnings) have thought about protecting themselves from their own government's agents though.

  • Homo economicus||

    Crimethink, you feel free to do what you want but I am going to do my part to be as much of a roadblock to state opression as I can. The more J. Q. Citizens cave in and bend over to every whim of the cops the more cops will think it is 'OK' to do what they will to the public.

  • you will respect mah athoritah||

    And if you were in danger, they'd risk their lives to save you, so maybe stuff the juvenile attitude.

    Oh, you mean like they did at Columbine? Or was that where these brave officers sat on their fat asses while a bunch of kids were slaughtered? The only time these guys are "brave" is when they're wearing combat gear and breaking down the door of some poker player, cancer patient, or 80 year-old woman. Give a couple teenagers a gun and they reveal themselves for the cowards they really are.

    Sure, there are cops that are good and cops that are dirty, . . . Law enforcement is neither exempt, nor especially susceptible simply by virtue of their job.

    Bullshit. As atrevete pointed out they are most assuredly more susceptible by virtue of their job - specifically their power. And when one of them does fuck up (not exactly a rare occurrence) the others will lie their asses off to protect him from any consequences. But I'm sure you're right - there are cops that are good - it's just that 95% are giving the other 5% a bad name, right?

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    Is that what Atrevete meant? If so, I bow down in humble apology. Atrevete, I am sorry if I misread your meaning

  • Jennifer||

    Otherwise, at a routine traffic stop or a DUI roadblock, the cops are just as anxious to get it over with as you are

    Bullshit. The last DUI block I had to go through, if the cop was "as anxious to get it over with" as I was, he would have let me go as soon as it became spectacularly obvious that I was stone-cold sober, instead of grilling me about where I was coming from and where I was going and did I plan to drink later and did I plan to take drugs later and yadda yadda yadda.

  • ||

    Aw hell, Jennifer, he was probably just trying to hit on you! Cops like pretty women, too! And I bet they score alot of them that way.

  • ||

    :-)

  • ||

    Seizure of assests has a long history in this country. Imagine the goverment man inspecting imported canned foods finds 5% is lethally contaminated with botulism poison. The owner was about to ship it off to distribution centers, to go to grocery stores. The government needs to act, immediately, to ensure people don't die.

    The same thinking applies to a big wad of cash - it is 'reasonably likely' that it is going to be used illegally or dangerously, the government has an obligation to protect the public welfare.

    The seizure law doesn't concern itself with where the money came from, but where it is going. Important distinction.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The owner was about to ship it off to distribution centers, to go to grocery stores...... where nobody, not even consumers, would notice the lopsided bulging cans about to burst from the pressure of contaminants inside.

  • ||

    it is 'reasonably likely' that it is going to be used illegally or dangerously, the government has an obligation to protect the public welfare

    Waitaminnit. You weren't clear - do you actually believe this, or are you parroting the perceived gubmint line?

    I ask because I wouldn't want to inappropriately label you a troll.

    /you're welcome

  • ||

    Not to mention being stopped by the Fish Police that need not have probable cause to inspect your vehicle while looking for dangerous amounts of bullheads or other contraband such as cash. You don't need a gun rack in your truck or tattoos to be suspicious and perhaps dangerous.

  • atrevete||

    PIRS

    That's exactly what I meant!

    As far as seizing cans of food with botulism, were they going to sell the cans off later? Can the owner reclaim them if he can prove they are his? Very bad analogy.

  • ||

    I was once told by someone in the entertainment business that since they have been fucked over by concert promoters so many times that artists demand payment in cash before they'll go on. And we're talking big name talent here.

    He once had to get the box office receipts from the theater management and count them out to keep some rapper and his posse from walking out and getting on their bus. And this was with a packed house sitting out front waiting for the show to start.

  • Thomas Anderson||

    I presume he was caught with Federal Reserve Notes, which are not cash, but fiat money/legal tender. Notes, technically speaking, have no intrinsic value and are only obligations of the U.S. Government. They are not backed by anything other than what people are willing to accept them for or perform labor for.

    Since these "notes" are issued by a private bank, the Federal Reserve Bank, they are not actually "property", although the possession of such would imply a property interest, they are still the private issue script of a private bank.

    It is the possession of the private bank's property in excess of what THEY determine to be the presumed use of their script in furthering the pursuits of a criminal enterprise, which is essentially what the Federal Reserve and their collection agency, the IRS, are. If you are in possession of an excess of this property the courts, through what is called presumptive correctness, which means it stands as true in a court unless rebutted, that this instrument is commonly used in such criminal pursuits and therefore reasonably to be intended for such use if found to be in the classification in aggregation exceeding $10,000.

    If you were in possession of any other negotiable instrument or private property with a value, as determined by respective private parties to be in excess of $10,000, the police could not draw a connection to illegal activity. Maybe people should perceive the taking as being an aggressive criminal act and defend what they perceive to be their "property" with deadly force. If you have a minimum of $10k on person then that should buy a decent defense and hopefully a reasonable and sympathetic jury.

  • ||

    ....he'd have to prove it was his and did not come from illegal drug sales.


    When did presumption of guilt become legally acceptable in the USA, and why has it not been challenged and struck down?

  • BruceM||

    Thomas Anderson, everything you stated in your last post is completely erroneous. US currency is an asset, it's backed by our economy (not nothing). There is no dollar amount that triggers probable cause or reasonable suspicion of a crime, and US currency is no more or less seizable than any other form of currency. A large quantity of British Pounds will be taken by the cops just as quickly as a large amount of US cash. Anything over $10k needs to be declared when brought into or out of the country or when deposited or withdrawn from a financial institution ("CTR" form).

    Fighting cops to prevent them from taking evidence is only going to add to your troubles, especially if you use deadly force. I'm assuming you're being serious here. If your case is so good that the jury would be sympathetic to your claim, you should have no problem contesting the forfeiture and getting your money back from the government.

    It's rare to see a post where every single statement of fact is completely wrong. But you did it.

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