Lawsuit against DEA for stealing 79-year-old man’s life savings

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.

Federal agents steal $29K from innocent man

Theft by government: Federal agents confiscated $29K cash from a man, who has never been charged with any crime, while he was proceeding through security at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Yuba City resident Josh Gingerich buys and flips trucks. A recent buying trip to do that cost him a bag of cash which was seized by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) drug interdiction task force at O’Hare Airport. “A little over 29 grand,” the amount taken said Gingerich who was not arrested and did not break any laws. “No marijuana, no drugs.”

He believes an airport TSA agent saw the money in his backpack and tipped off the DEA. “They take you down to a dingy basement room,” said Gingerich. “No cameras…no nothing.”

Gingerich said he was set up by the officers who he says claimed to smell marijuana on a plastic bag filled with dirty laundry in his backpack. He said officers dumped the clothes, filled the bag with cash, then brought it to the drug dog. “They can just do what they want,” said Gingerich.

There might have been a marijuana smell there, but if so they never used that evidence to charge the man with a crime, only to steal his money.

The Constitution, specifically the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, is blatantly clear about this: “No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” You can’t get clearer. The entire civil forfeiture process is unconstitutional, illegal, and should end, now. It should especially end because of this quote from the story:

Last March, the U.S. Justice Department Inspector General released a report saying from 2007–2016, the DEA seized $3.2 billion with zero convictions tied to this money.

In other words, the DEA stole more than $3 billion from Americans, none of whom were ever found guilty of any crimes. This is theft by government, and must end.

How the DEA harasses and robs train passengers

Theft by government: Evidence suggests that the Drug Enforcement agency routinely detains, searches, and then steals from train passengers under the guise of searching for drugs.

Read it. This story isn’t from some right wing libertarian website, but from the Atlantic. It describes the routine abuse of power by agents, often resulting in the theft of cash.

The Obama administration has extended the power of the ATF to “seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled-substance abuses.”

Theft by government: The Obama administration has extended the power of the ATF to “seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled-substance abuses.”

In other words, if the ATF thinks a drug crime has occurred, it now has the right to seize any property involved, without due process. The article gives a particularly pointed example:
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Arizona — in corporation with the federal government — has now joined Utah, California and Texas in scanning and recording the license plates of cars near the Mexican border

Does this make you feel safer? Arizona — in corporation with the federal government — has now joined California and Texas in scanning and recording the license plates of all cars traveling near the Mexican border.

After using his truck without his permission in a botched sting operation, the U.S. government is now refusing to compensate the owner for the truck’s destruction.

We’re here to help you: After using his truck without his permission in a botched sting operation, the U.S. government is now refusing to compensate the owner for the damages.

Commandeered by one of his drivers, who was secretly working with federal agents, the truck had been hauling marijuana from the border as part of an undercover operation. And without Patty’s knowledge, the Drug Enforcement Administration was paying his driver, Lawrence Chapa, to use the truck to bust traffickers. … Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers – all of them taken by surprise by hijackers trying to steal the red Kenworth T600 truck and its load of pot. In the confusion of the attack in northwest Harris County, compounded by officers in the operation not all knowing each other, a Houston policeman shot and wounded a Harris County sheriff’s deputy.

But eight months later, Patty still can’t get recompense from the U.S. government’s decision to use his truck and employee without his permission.