Stop and seize: Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes

Traffic Stop - Photo by DarkKomodo

Cash seizures can be made under state or federal civil law. One of the primary ways police departments are able to seize money and share in the proceeds at the federal level is through a long-standing Justice Department civil asset forfeiture program known as Equitable Sharing. Asset forfeiture is an extraordinarily powerful law enforcement tool that allows the government to take cash and property without pressing criminal charges and then requires the owners to prove their possessions were legally acquired.

The practice has been controversial since its inception at the height of the drug war more than three decades ago, and its abuses have been the subject of journalistic exposés and congressional hearings. But unexplored until now is the role of the federal government and the private police trainers in encouraging officers to target cash on the nation’s highways since 9/11.

“Those laws were meant to take a guy out for selling $1 million in cocaine or who was trying to launder large amounts of money,” said Mark Overton, the police chief in Bal Harbour, Fla., who once oversaw a federal drug task force in South Florida. “It was never meant for a street cop to take a few thousand dollars from a driver by the side of the road.”

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1 thought on “Stop and seize: Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes”

  1. Excellent article!
    The trouble is what do you do when the policeman in charge is a thief?
    When the law itself becomes the thief of your property. Ignores the Constitution of the country?
    Because basically that is what it comes down to. That and you have to hire lawyers to get it back at exhorbant rates. Time is money. Two years is a long time.
    I suggest these people not travel with money at all. That they might find it easier to get a postal money order that is not cashable by anyone else and mail it to its destination. They might have to get a lot more than one.
    That is what anyone with an ounce of brains might do. Arranging an address would be the difficult part. And that is the most likely way that drug lords take money over long distances. That and the use of cashier’s checks.
    The areas mentioned along Route 10 are all ready notorious for corruption.
    What I see is a horror story in the making.
    All it will take is these “cops” trying this on the wrong person. The result will be a lot of dead thieves.
    So far they haven’t picked the wrong person. But that person is out there, There are many persons out there you don’t want to try this on.
    Apparently the real professional criminals out there are not really vulnerable to these idiots.
    I suggest that no one is really safe from professionals if you get in their way. We have entire libraries full of books describing real people out there like I am describing.
    There are really two ways of looking at professional policework. There is the right way, which is totally honesty and there is the easy way which involves corruption. The question I have is which way are our policemen going to take?
    They swear an oath of office. Oath Breakers eventually land in hell.

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