Tag Archives: civil asset forfeiture

The DEA Has Stolen $3.2 Billion from Americans Without Charges Since 2007, by Michael Krieger

Here’s another racket: civil asset forfeiture. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

In my post published earlier this week, Recent TSA Molestation Video Proves Americans Have Become Authority Worshipping Slaves, I noted the following:

Yeah, it’s disgusting, inappropriate and anathema to a free people, but that’s the point. We aren’t a free people. We’ve become a bunch of authority-worshiping subjects toiling on a plantation dominated by multi-national companies who write our laws and manipulate our thoughts through corporate media. The worst part is we don’t do anything about it. We elect Trump and then puff our chests out yelling stupid slogans like MAGA, as molestations from the TSA get worse. Well done everyone.

I was pleased that the above paragraph connected with many people, but for those of you who think I was being hyperbolic, take a look at the following excerpts from a piece recently published at The Washington Post, Since 2007, the DEA Has Taken $3.2 Billion in Cash from People Not Charged with a Crime:

The Drug Enforcement Administration takes billions of dollars in cash from people who are never charged with criminal activity, according to a report issued today by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

Since 2007, the report found, the DEA has seized more than $4 billion in cash from people suspected of involvement with the drug trade. But 81 percent of those seizures, totaling $3.2 billion, were conducted administratively, meaning no civil or criminal charges were brought against the owners of the cash and no judicial review of the seizures ever occurred.

Remember, the terrorists hate us for our freedom.

That total does not include the dollar value of other seized assets, like cars, homes, electronics and clothing.

These seizures are all legal under the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture, which allows authorities to take cash, contraband and property from people suspected of crime. But the practice does not require authorities to obtain a criminal conviction, and it allows departments to keep seized cash and property for themselves unless individuals successfully challenge the forfeiture in court. Critics across the political spectrum say this creates a perverse profit motive, incentivizing police to seize goods not for the purpose of fighting crime, but for padding department budgets.

To continue reading: The DEA Has Stolen $3.2 Billion from Americans Without Charges Since 2007

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Civil Asset Forfeiture – Ruining Lives, While Failing To Stop Crime, by Duane Norman

Trump’s come down on the wrong side of the civil asset forfeiture issue and he may not even know what it is. From Duane Norman at fmshooter.com:

Yesterday, President Trump met with the National Sheriff’s Association at the White House. Like so many Trump comments, this one took a strange turn when Trump (jokingly or not) threatened to “destroy the career” of a Texas state Senator:

During the meeting, Rockwall County, Texas, Sheriff Harold Eavenson told President Trump about a piece of asset forfeiture legislation he believes would aid Mexican drug cartels…here’s the full conversation:

Eavenson: “There’s a state senator in Texas that was talking about legislation to require conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money.”

Trump: “Do you believe that?”

Eavenson: “And I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed.”

Trump: “Who is that state senator? I want to hear his name. We’ll destroy his career…”

Though the major point of conversation was about Trump’s threat to a state legislator, the bigger story should be the implicit support Trump gave to civil asset forfeiture, whether he realized it or not. And if you are not aware what civil asset forfeiture is, it is (surprisingly) something that is agreed by both sides of the aisle to be unjust and unconstitutional, and rightfully so.

Civil asset forfeiture is defined by Wikipedia as “a controversial legal process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing.” The practice is commonplace in the war on drugs, but it can be extended to almost anything.

What it means is that the government can essentially seize any of your assets it can find (be it in a bank account, or cash/gold/whatever you have in a safe or under the mattress), label them a part of a “criminal investigation,” and keep them indefinitely, without sufficient due process for the citizen to challenge the seizures, and whether you are ultimately charged with a crime or not.

To continue reading: Civil Asset Forfeiture – Ruining Lives, While Failing To Stop Crime

Carrying Cash? Be Ready to Lose It, by Mark Nestmann

There are very good reasons for not keeping a lot of cash in banks. From Mark Nestmann on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Don’t trust banks to protect the money you’ve deposited? You’re hardly alone.

From a legal standpoint, the money you deposit in a bank no longer belongs to you. Instead, the bank owns it. You are merely just another one of their unsecured creditors. What’s more, in the event of future bank failures, the US government has now signed an international agreement confirming that it will not pay off depositors. Instead, it will force them to submit to a “bail-in” regime, like bank depositors in Cyprus experienced in 2013.

The bail-in scenario, on top of the lowest interest rates in 5,000 years, has led many bank depositors to make the entirely rational decision to withdraw their savings from banks. They’re taking the cash and storing it, often in a home safe. Indeed, sales of home safes are soaring worldwide.

This behavior deeply disturbs the powers that be. In response, they’ve imposed stricter and stricter controls on cash. I wrote about those controls a year and a half ago, and since then, it’s only gotten worse.

In the US, one strategy the government uses to discourage people from holding cash is civil forfeiture. Under this Alice-in-Wonderland legal process, cops can seize your cash – or anything else you own – if they believe that it’s somehow connected to a crime… any crime. You don’t need to be convicted, accused, or even arrested for a crime to lose everything you own.

To continue reading: Carrying Cash? Be Ready to Lose It

How You Pay for Their Lies with Your Rights, by Mark Nestmann

Buy a one-way plane, train, or bus ticket or pay for it in cash and you may end up on a DEA watch list. From that, they may decide to seize your cash when you arrive at the airport, train terminal, or bust station, and you’ll have the same chance of getting it back as SLL does of winning a compliment from Hillary Clinton. From Mark Nestmann via theburningplatform.com:

When Barack Obama campaigned for president in 2008, he promised to end the War on Drugs.

As a candidate, he suggested the century-long war had been a failure and America would do better with a public health approach to drug abuse.

As the president, he’s done the exact opposite. Obama has intensified tactics… and now his policies have sacrificed our rights to:

•  Travel freely
•  Keep our medical records private

What do I mean? Read on… the reality is shocking.

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), routinely “data mine” travel itineraries to determine who might be carrying cash. There’s no warrant required. Then, they use the incredibly lax civil forfeiture laws to seize said cash on suspicion of illegal acts taking place without any real evidence of a crime being committed. It’s a racket, and DEA units posted at 15 of America’s busiest airports have used it to confiscate more than $200 million in cash over the past decade.

What makes them suspicious, you might wonder?

Basically, paying for your ticket in cash, or buying a one-way ticket on a plane, train, or bus, could result in a shakedown by federal agents, or local police working with the DEA. In the vast majority of cases, you won’t be arrested or detained. Agents will simply give you a receipt for your seized cash, and send you on your way.

But hold on a second. You might say, “Don’t such practices violate the Constitution or Bill of Rights?” If only that mattered these days. Issue here is, if a police dog smells drug residue on the cash, you’ll probably lose it. The obvious problem is more than 90% of circulating cash contains such residues.

Another involuntary sacrifice you’re forced to make to fight their drug war is your medical privacy. This part of the war focuses on prescription medication, so even if you’ve never touched marijuana, cocaine, or heroin in your life, you’re still under surveillance.

So far, 32 states already share prescription data with the DEA. And the Obama administration has sued the remaining states in federal court to force them into line. It claims it has the right to obtain this data using only an “administrative subpoena.” This demand for information requires the agency issuing it to demonstrate that the information sought could be useful for law enforcement purposes. There’s no probable cause, no warrant… no “due process” whatsoever.

The Obama administration argues that you have no expectation of privacy in your prescription records because you have submitted them to a third party – a pharmacy. This is the same logic, incidentally, the government successfully used in a series of cases before the Supreme Court in the 1970s to persuade it to uphold the Bank Secrecy Act, which effectively ended financial privacy in the US.

Obama, of course, is only the latest president to pursue the War on Drugs. The war unofficially began in 1914, when Congress restricted the marketing of opiates and coca/cocaine products. Advocates for the new law spoke of “drug-crazed, sex-mad Negroes” murdering whites and “Chinamen” seducing white women with opium. Congress later imposed similar restrictions on marijuana.

Federal penalties for drug possession were stiffened in the 1950s, and in 1970, Congress enacted a law that gave federal prosecutors the right to confiscate the property of anyone convicted of drug trafficking in a process called criminal forfeiture. That same year, justifying the War on Drugs and Organized Crime for doing so, Congress passed the Bank Secrecy Act. Eight years later, Congress gave prosecutors the ability to seize the property of anyone suspected of involvement in the drug trade through civil forfeiture proceedings. (Executives at Phizer, Bayer and the rest of big pharma don’t count here of course).

To coninue reading: How You Pay for Their Lies with Your Rights

Yikes! Value of assets seized by federal law enforcement agencies exceeds burglaries, by Andrew Moran

It’s been a long time coming, but a severe case of cognitive dissonance is slowly taking hold among the American populace: the supposed “good” guys are often bad guys. From drew Moran at economiccollapsenews.com:

The total annual dollar value of assets seized by federal law enforcement agencies has been soaring since 2011. At the same time, however, the total annual dollar value of assets seized through burglary has actually gone down.

That’s right. Assets taken by the government has surpassed that of burglaries. Today, civil asset forfeiture in the United States has exceeded $5 billion, while burglaries have dipped below $4 billion. That’s just incredible. (SEE: Civil Asset Forfeiture and the Income Tax)

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) notes that federal legislators are looking to curb law enforcement’s immense appetite for taking away private property. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has presented the Due Process Act.
Some of the elements inside the bill consist of:

– Enhances procedural protections of forfeiture proceedings in both civil and administrative settings and prevents government overreach.

– Increases the government’s burden of proof in civil asset forfeiture cases to help protect innocent victims.

– Creates a right to counsel for Americans in all civil asset forfeiture proceedings

– Expands protections to innocent owners by requiring the government to prove
the connection between the property and the offense and that the property was used intentionally in order to seize it.

– Requires the Inspector General to conduct a yearly audit on a representative sample of federal civil forfeitures to ensure they are being conducted within the letter and spirit of the law

Here is John Oliver speaking about this dubious process in 2014:

http://economiccollapsenews.com/2016/05/23/yikes-value-of-assets-seized-by-federal-law-enforcement-agencies-exceeds-burglaries/

How the Department of Justice is Actively Trying to Prevent Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform, by Michael Krieger

From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Civil asset forfeiture is one of the most unethical and barbaric practices routinely performed by law enforcement in these United States today. Naturally, the Department of Justice is doing everything it can to protect the practice.

When I say that the rule of law is dead in America, I am not exaggerating. In fact, with each passing day it becomes increasingly obvious that the Justice Department not only has no interest in justice, it appears to view its primary role as coddling and protecting lawlessness amongst the so-called “elite” and their minions.

Today’s post proves the point once again. The state of California is in the process of passing a civil asset forfeiture bill, and in response, the DOJ is providing talking points to the California District Attorneys’ Association so that it can more effectively fight the bill. All of this after the DOJ had previously expressed faux support for civil asset forfeiture reform.

TechDirt reports:

At the beginning of this year, Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to close an exploitable loophole in asset forfeiture laws. State and local law enforcement agencies often sought federal “adoption” of seizures in order to route around statutes that dumped assets into general funds or otherwise limited them from directly profiting from these seizures. By partnering with federal agencies, local law enforcement often saw bigger payouts than with strictly local forfeitures.

The loophole closure still had its own loopholes (seizures for “public safety,” various criminal acts), but it did make a small attempt to straighten out some really perverted incentives. But deep down inside, it appears the DOJ isn’t really behind true forfeiture reform. In fact, it seems to be urging local law enforcement to fight these efforts by pointing out just how much money these agencies will “lose” if they can’t buddy up with Uncle Sam.

To continue reading: How DOJ is Trying to Prevent Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

The DEA Strikes Again – Agents Seize Man’s Life Savings Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Charges, by Michael Krieger

Civil asset forfeiture violates the plain language of the Fifth Amendment: “[N]or shall any person…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” (Isn’t the plain, simple, and concise language of the Constitution refreshing? It makes you wonder why and how its been torn to shreds.) Here’s an article from Michael Krieger, at libertyblitzkrieg.com, that illustrates the evils of civil asset forfeiture:

All the money – $16,000 in cash – that Joseph Rivers said he had saved and relatives had given him to launch his dream in Hollywood is gone, seized during his trip out West not by thieves but by Drug Enforcement Administration agents during a stop at the Amtrak train station in Albuquerque.

Rivers, 22, wasn’t detained and has not been charged with any crime since his money was taken last month.

That doesn’t matter. Under a federal law enforcement tool called civil asset forfeiture, he need never be arrested or convicted of a crime for the government to take away his cash, cars or property – and keep it.

Rivers was left penniless, his dream deferred.

From the Albuquerque Journal article: DEA to Traveler: Thanks, I’ll Take That Cash

In the “land of the free” you might be innocent until proven guilty, but your assets aren’t.

In one of the most uncivilized and preposterous loopholes in America, federal agents are allowed to steal citizens’ assets; cars, cash, even homes, based on suspicion alone. I’ve covered this barbaric and backward practice on many occasions, but here’s a quick refresher from the first post I wrote on the subject in 2013, Why You Should Never, Ever Drive Through Tenaha, Texas:

In a nutshell, civil forfeiture is the practice of confiscating items from people, ranging from cash, cars, even homes based on no criminal conviction or charges, merely suspicion. This practice first became widespread for use against pirates, as a way to take possession of contraband goods despite the fact that the ships’ owners in many cases were located thousands of miles away and couldn’t easily be prosecuted. As is often the case, what starts out reasonable becomes a gigantic organized crime ring of criminality, particularly in a society where the rule of law no longer exists for the “elite,” yet anything goes when it comes to pillaging the average citizen.

One of the major reasons these programs have become so abused is that the police departments themselves are able to keep much of the confiscated money. So they actually have a perverse incentive to steal. As might be expected, a program that is often touted as being effective against going after major drug kingpins, actually targets the poor and disenfranchised more than anything else.

http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2015/05/17/the-dea-strikes-again-agents-seize-mans-life-savings-under-civil-asset-forfeiture-without-charges/

To continue reading: The DEA Strikes Again