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Articles Tagged with airport seizure

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pascal-meier-UYiesSO4FiM-unsplash-300x200A recent case of civil asset forfeiture at an airport in Phoenix, Arizona deprived a man of almost $40,000 in cash.

According to press sources, the man allegedly flew to Phoenix to buy a semi-truck for his business. He didn’t spend any of the money and was catching his flight home when he was relieved of his cash at the airport. Authorities accused him of illegally obtaining the money, but he was never charged for any wrongdoing.

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airport-indoors-people-804463-300x200In 2019, a woman traveling from Pittsburgh with $82,000 in cash was stopped by authorities at the airport, and her money was seized using civil asset forfeiture.

According to the press, the woman was carrying her father’s life savings to deposit in a bank when she was confronted by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents about the cash.

The TSA agents eventually released her, but she was then detained by officers from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) before she boarded her flight. The agents questioned her about the origins of the money. She explained that it was her father’s money and she was just helping him put it in a bank. The DEA officers let her go, but they allegedly seized the cash under suspicion of being involved in a crime.

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pexels-sora-shimazaki-5668481-300x200A retiree and his daughter filed a lawsuit against two government agencies in Pittsburg in January 2020 after his cash was allegedly confiscated at the airport using civil asset forfeiture.

The plaintiffs sued the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to the suit, the retiree kept his money at home because he mistrusted the banking system. Due to a recent change of residence, however, he had no choice but to deposit his savings in a bank.

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AirpoOn February 3rd, a woman in Detroit Metropolitan Airport outbound for Amsterdam was caught smuggling $60,000 worth of cash, news sources report. U.S Customs and Border Protection seized the money and held the woman under custody. According to a CBP spokesperson, the passenger is not facing any allegations. It is not known whether the woman has retained a civil asset forfeiture attorney.

The passenger was said to initially have declared $1,000 with the CBP officers. However, upon inspection of the woman’s luggage, envelopes of cash were hidden in a package of sanitary pads. Although reasons behind the woman’s choice to hide the cash are not known, suspected illicit behavior alone legally allows U.S Customs and Border Protection officers to seize large amounts of undeclared cash.

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annie-spratt-E9NE0qcq74k-unsplash-300x225The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) announced that they collected approximately $242,000,000 in criminal, civil, and assets forfeiture. In the figures provided by EDVA, 86% of the $242,000,000 are from civil forfeitures.

Virginia earned a D- for its civil forfeiture laws in a recent national review. Besides a low standard of proof, the burden of proving innocence heavily resides on the property owners in this state. The law enforcement agency is also allowed to retain 100% of the confiscated proceeds; 90% goes to the participating agency, and the remaining 10% is to the Department of Criminal Justice Service. Although the law intends to prevent possible crimes, this “policing for profit” aspect may distort the priorities of the police officers.

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