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Theft by government: According to a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court against the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and officials from both agencies, government officials confiscated the life savings of a 79-year-old man, totaling $82,373, merely because his daughter was transporting the money in cash on an airplane flight.
At 79, he was aging and worried about keeping so much cash on hand, his daughter said, so during one of her visits he asked her to open a joint bank account. Rebecca Brown was catching a flight home from the Pittsburgh airport early the next day and said she didn’t have time to stop at a bank. She confirmed on a government website that it’s legal to carry any amount of cash on a domestic flight and tucked the money in her carry-on.
But just minutes before departure in late August, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent met her at the busy gate and questioned her about the cash, which showed up on a security scan. He insisted Brown put Rolin on the phone to confirm her story. Brown said Rolin, who is suffering mental decline, was unable to verify some details. “He just handed me the phone and said, ‘Your stories don’t match,’ ” Brown recalled the agent saying. ” ‘We’re seizing the cash.’ “
Brown said she was never told she or her father were under suspicion of committing any crime and neither has been charged with anything. A search of her bag turned up no drugs or other contraband. Neither she or her father appear to have criminal records that might raise suspicions.
Brown and Rolin filed a federal, class-action lawsuit Wednesday against the DEA, Transportation Security Administration and agency officials, claiming the agencies violate the Constitution’s ban on unlawful search and seizures by taking cash from travelers without probable cause. The lawsuit claims the only criteria the DEA has for seizing cash is if it finds amounts greater than $5,000.
This is out-and-out theft by these government officials. Not only should the money be returned, every government official involved in this theft should be fired, and possibly face sanctions themselves.