Articles Tagged with Chicago

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bills-cash-collection-47344-300x212In the early hours of January 10, 2017, Zhimin Peng of Chicago was traveling through Boone County, Missouri when he was pulled over by Deputy Patrick Richardson. Peng had been driving his rental car at 94 mph. Together with Peng in the car was Ting Wei Huang. They told Richardson that they were on a short break from college and were traveling from Chicago to San Francisco.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Halford soon joined Richardson. Halford obtained permission to search Huang’s possessions. When Halford opened a bag in the trunk, he saw it contained a large amount of cash. Another officer, Kevin Purdy of the Columbia Police Department arrived with his drug dog, Duncan; the dog alerted officers to the odor of narcotics in several bags in the trunk. The bags contained nearly $627,000 in cash.
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Josh Gingerich of Yuba City in northern California buys and flips trucks for a living. On a buying trip in February, the DEA stopped Josh at the airport and confiscated the $29,000 in cash he was carrying. Josh was not arrested, nor did he commit any crime. Despite this, the DEA is refusing to give his money back.

Law enforcement was able to take Josh’s money using a process called civil asset forfeiture. This is a legal procedure where property or cash can be seized if it has been suspected of involvement in a crime. As it is a civil and not a legal procedure, in most states property owners do not need to be charged with a crime before their property may be taken.
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In 2016, law enforcement in Chicago pulled over Spencer Bird. Spencer was not charged with any crime, yet the police seized his Cadillac DeVille and began civil asset forfeiture proceedings on it. Spencer went to court to reclaim his vehicle, but despite winning the case in August 2017, city authorities have still not released it. It has been two years since the vehicle was seized.

Spencer works as a carpenter in Harvey, a suburb of southern Chicago where more than one third of the population lives below the poverty line. Until his car was taken, Spencer also worked as a mechanic. Repairing cars had been a passion since he was a teen.
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