American shakedown: Police won't charge you, but they'll grab your money


Disclaimer, to my American friends from your Crazy Canuck here, I love you all but what these police are doing is despicable and should be criminally charged by your own Government.

The Washington Post this week reported that in the past 13 years, there have been 61,998 cash seizures on roadways and elsewhere without use of search warrants. The total haul: $2.5 billion, divided pretty much equally between the U.S. government and state and local authorities

It would also appear police like to target minorities, who tend to be cooperative and less likely to hire a lawyer.

Civil rights advocates have documented all sorts of outright legal theft:

The (minority) businessman from Georgia who was relieved of $75,000 he’d raised from relatives to buy a restaurant in Louisiana.
The (minority) church leaders who were carrying nearly $30,000 from their Baltimore parishioners to carry out church activities in North Carolina and El Salvador.
The young college grad with no criminal record on his way to a job interview out West who was relieved of $2,500 lent to him by his dad for the trip.


I have read about this over the years and have seen nothing justifying what our governements are doing. Includng forfeiture of assets obtained through a crime as part of a sentence for the crime after conviction does not seem unreasonable, but what these people are doing is unconscionable. I can’t believe this hasn’t been fought to the Supreme Court.


Welcome to the land of the free, eh?
I agree that this piracy is despicable but as far as anyone being criminally charged you’re forgetting this is legal.

Btw, the situation has gotten worse under Obama.


It’s not just cash. This couple had their house seized because their son sold $40 worth of heroin from it…

We need to get the Constitution back.




I do not really trust this article. I know of a lot of interdiction cases all of which involved the distribution of drugs. Yes, if you are a drug dealer, you should be concerned that you could lose money your have on hand with the drugs. No, I don’t believe a word in this article. It sounds too goofy.

Yes, if money is seized outside of the interdiction laws, which I am sure happens somewhere sometime, then it really should be prosecuted, as should any theft in the United States, Canada, or parts unknown.

A final note to Canadians: do not believe everything you read in the newspaper.


Yep. I have a lot of respect for the CBC, however I am not sure the article measures up to their standards. Honestly, there is no reason for anyone to be tooling through the countryside with more than $10,000 sitting in their pocket. To be traveling with that amount of cash is simply crazy, since a robbery could happen at any time.

The author mentions three incidents of high level cash seizures. However, he doesn’t tell us who is making the claim or about any of the details. I find it hard to believe that a businessman would have $75,000 in his pocket while traveling to another state. Doing so would be needlessly risky.

I don’t think this news article passes the sniff test. However, I would advise anyone, whether they are Canadian or not, to avoid traveling long distance with huge amounts of cash. There simply is no reason to have more than $10,000 in your pocket.


You don’t believe the article based on . . .what? You think the reporter just sat down & said “Gee, what outrageous BS can I write today?”

Yes, if money is seized outside of the interdiction laws, which I am sure happens somewhere sometime, then it really should be prosecuted, as should any theft in the United States, Canada, or parts unknown.

A final note to Canadians: do not believe everything you read in the newspaper.

The point is there shouldn’t be any “civil” forfeiture. Taking of ill-gotten property should come only after conviction.
Btw, if you’re interested check out this article in Forbes about asset seizures in Philadelphia and this in the New Yorker about a town in Texas on I-59 that set up as a forfeiture trap, relieving unwary travelers of their cash.


Sort of. I think the author read something in the Washington Post and rehashed it with an anti-American attitude, which I base on such rhetoric as, " But if you’re on an American roadway with a full wallet, in the eyes of thousands of cash-hungry cops you’re a rolling ATM." Also, the list of silly things to avoid I view as indicative of armchair blogging, as opposed to research journalism. Analysis (as per the title)? No. Analysis involves research, not nationalistic bigotry.

What is noticeably absent is any documentation of this happening, you know, any actual cases, research or documentation.


[FONT=Georgia]The point is there shouldn’t be any “civil” forfeiture. Taking of ill-gotten property should come only after conviction

Now that is an interesting point. I do not know what I think of the current law as I am only familiar with the way it is used legitimately. I do remember there some since of justice in the civil trial of O.J. Simpson after his acquittal, so I do think there is an argument to be made for the lower burden of civil law in determining monetary penalties. Still, I have to agree that nothing should be seized without actual ties to criminal activity, like possession of illegal drugs.



So much for Obama/Holder/Democrats caring for the minorities since they are ones being targeted.


That is absurd, why is the public not doing anything about this? IMO, people should ban together and demand this be stopped, this give police WAY TOO much incentive to find drugs or evidence of drug use…they are clearly too obtuse to recognize their little war on drugs failed years ago, maybe they need to be shown, just like a little kid? LOL

I think lawmakers and police are taking advantage of the seizure laws way too often these days, in fact, Id bet many depts rely on this money for their daily operations…something is wrong when police rely on money from criminal acts for their operations budget!!

But then again, they rely on a certain number of people speeding, driving drunk, going thru stop signs, etc each month…so its not much of a stretch for them to go further, Plus, if anyone were to look at the laws on certain things, then look at the statistics for that particular offense, by rights, the numbers should do down, and if they are not, then it is up to lawmakers to create new laws so the numbers will go down, after all, this is why we have laws, to decrease crimes, but with driving offenses, they tend to remain the same, only thing that changes is the fine amount…which always goes up…why doesnt anyone recognize what is going on here?LOL

It is quite hilarious to see them keep using the same old laws year after year for some offenses, when they have never worked LOL I have to believe if they truly wanted to stop drunk driving, they could very easily, but nope, they just keep using the same old tactics, that have never worked, BUT, they have to consider all that revenue that would be lost if they did away with drunk driving…I dont think they are willing to do that…so the status quo remains…keep on arresting more and more people for DUI, keep on collecting fine money…when will this stop?

This has made me sick to read this, Im going to send a message to lawmakers in my state about this, Ive said it before, if any agency needs a major overhaul, it is law enforcement in general…they have way too much power and authority as it is now.


I hope this article is false, but would not surprise me if its true either, I dont trust police at all.

Im not really advocating for the drug dealers or cartels, but versus the police, its would be tough choice for me.


Well, given some of the articles I’ve read near election time, this wouldn’t be a terribly new thing for journalists to do. Not to say that I am claiming the article is completely made up, though it does sound at least exaggerated - I have a hard time believing there are packs of cops roaming the streets looking steal people’s money everywhere. But of course, even if only a little of that sort of thing is happening, it needs to stop.

The point is there shouldn’t be any “civil” forfeiture. Taking of ill-gotten property should come only after conviction.

See, this is the problem - if during a search, a police officer finds a suspiciously large amount of money, and has an actual, reasonable reason to believe it is associated with illegal activity, and if he was right and doesn’t take it, that money will never be seen again.

There should be checks though - if anything at all is confiscated, it should be mandatory for it to be returned either upon the decision not to charge or an innocent verdict (it shouldn’t even be possible for someone to sign a waiver saying that the police can keep it, or keep half of it, or whatever - it should all be returned, or the person should go to court), the onus to make sure that happens should be on the police, and the police should have to pay damages if it there was not proof that the money was stolen or drug money, and if their actions inconvenienced the suspect.


Check out the Washington Post’s well-researched three-part series:


What gets me about this whole affair is why the law is allowed, why it hasn’t been changed. It would be just as effective to seize the money temporarily and return it all if there is no connected drug conviction. That is how it happens here. It seems some dishonesty may be going on. I would be curious how common the problem is, percentage-wise that is.


Civil Forfeiture Laws And The Continued Assault On Private Property (click)
This is from Forbes, goes over the history of the act and a little bit about the current usage of the law.

What makes this so hard to track is that there are no criminal proceedings; therefore, no real public records. The filing to have the money returned is made by the owner of the asset.

As for the act itself, only the suspicion of criminal involvement or act need be in place for the government agent (fed or local) to take the asset and YOU the OWNER have to prove that the suspicion was wrong. Most people cannot do so given that the suspicion of the connection is the professional opinion of the government agent, an expert in the field, and such opinions are usually granted absolute authority in the courtroom.

What our Canadian neighbors need to be vigilant about is that they have the same “British/French - common law” core in their legal system that created this monster in our country.


The voice of reason :thumbsup:


Anybody dumb enough to be traveling with more than a couple of hundred dollars is begging to be robbed of cash. Registered Traveler’s cheques / checks were invented so that, when used as instructed, theft of the unsigned checks are reimbursed when claim is made to the check company for loss or theft. The small cost of the checks is worth the security of the traveler’s funds. They are accepted and converted by banks around the world.


Unless you are or were actually in law enforcement or a lawyer where such activities occur, it may be prudent to either do a lot of research before commenting or simply not comment by hitching a ride in the anti-police, law, authority bandwagons.

Articles such as this regularly cherry pick information and then twist into lies. Too much of what people THINK they know about police originates from this type of source making the general public woefully ignorant of reality.

The police are not and never have been against you nor are they looking for someone to highjack. In fact, most pray for an uneventful day realizing it will not likely end that way. Police are folks like you who decided to help their friends and neighbors, to sacrifice and risk things the rest are not capable or willing to risk and sacrifice. They are killed while eating lunch or pulling over a vehicle to let them know their brake lights aren’t working. The only “us vs. them” mentality comes from the public. If police violate they law, they are treated like anyone else. Departments actually have sections devoted just for this purpose. When asking yourself when was the last time an officer did something for you, first ask when was the last time you did something for a police officer.

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