Stacy Jones of Tampa, Florida was stripped of more than $40,000 cash at a North Carolina airport in 2020 when TSA agents didn’t believe it was legally hers. Jones said she often travelled with cash on gambling trips, as there is no law limiting how much cash travelers can carry on flights in the US. This time, though, the cash was turned over to DEA agents with no one ever accusing Jones of doing anything illegal.
This law enforcement practice is called civil asset forfeiture. Using it, TSA and DEA agents can seize money or property from citizens without any reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Most of the confiscated money ends up in the coffers of state governments and is never returned to its owner.