According to court filings, a search and seizure operation was conducted last March 5 on three local businesses: Treasure on Pallets, Deal Zone, and CD Land. The operation was conducted on grounds of money laundering and racketeering.
The State of Nevada amended its civil asset forfeiture laws in 2015 to require law enforcement agencies to secure a conviction before performing property seizures. Now, in 2021, the state is in the process of passing more reform.
Assembly Bill 425 is seeking to change some of the state’s existing forfeiture procedures. Even though state law requires a conviction before a seizure, forfeiture is still performed as a separate civil action. This puts an additional burden on property owners to enlist an attorney for a civil suit after they complete the criminal proceedings.
In 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.
A recent case of roadside civil asset forfeiture put $346,000 in cash at stake. On November 17 of last year, federal officials pulled over a vehicle for an alleged moving violation. According to law enforcement records, the vehicle was a rental car cruising along in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
The driver was a woman who allegedly didn’t have a driver’s license. When asked, she allegedly showed the officers her Kuwaiti passport and an identification card that was not in English. The officer who performed the stop confronted two passengers in the vehicle and asked where they were headed. The police report indicates that the passengers seemed nervous and that their stories didn’t match.
North Dakota recently scored an F for its civil asset forfeiture laws, according to the libertarian-leaning nonprofit Institute for Justice’s “Policing for Profit” survey. And it looks like lawmakers noticed.
Seizing assets using forfeiture is a legal prerogative of law enforcement agencies that was rationalized by the war on drugs. It allows authorities to take property if they believe it was used for a crime.