I was reading my email today and got a link to this story. Having had personal experience in the subject matter, and wanting to shed some light on something few people know about, I thought I’d share it with you.
In 2006 I got put in jail for a probation violation in Chambers County Texas, it’s not something I’m proud of or normally share but it’s relevant to this story.
I was in the holding cell just inside the front door for about 9 hours. While I was there approximately 6 other people were booked in and put into that holding cell. Of the 6 two were there for nothing more than “having cash in excess of $7500.00 dollars”
The two were arrested solely for being in possession of that money according to them, and they both thought someone had called the police on them. One guy claimed he had $18,000, but police showed him having $12,000. Hmmmmm And the other guy said he had $30,000 cash. Why did they think someone called police on them you ask?
Because they both claimed officers knew they had the money, even asking them before searching the vehicle “Where is the currency?” The FBI runs a joint task force with Chambers County, they are the guys with the dark tinted windows on I-10 before you get to Beaumont, Texas.
Well my curiosity was aroused by now, how in the world did police know these guys had that money BEFORE they searched the car?
Once my booking was complete I got my striped jumpsuit and went on back into the jail. (what joyous memories) Once in the back I met another young kid, he was about 19. The same thing had happened to him!
The kid spoke honestly with me, said that a man had payed him to drive a Ryder rental truck to Houston from Florida to buy cheap marijuana in Houston. The man who payed him was following behind the truck in a car. The young man said police stopped the car of his associate, so he pulled into a burger shop to wait for him.
He went inside, got a burger and went back out to the truck. As he reached the truck police swarmed in on him and almost immediately asked him “Where is the currency?” He had been in jail a week or so, and after some phone calls found that the man following him was released by police because he had less than $7,000 on his person.
The slick man had the youngster hauling the majority of the cash, over $102,000 dollars! I know what you are thinking, “who can believe a guy in jail.” Well, I saw the kid’s indictment myself and it read “The state of Texas vs. The Kid and $102,000” No crime was cited on the indictment.
That’s exactly what it said! The money was NAMED in the indictment! The kid bonded out later that day and I don’t know what happened to him after that, but I’m sure neither of them got that $102,000 back! And the same goes for the $12,000 and the $30,000.
In one day in Chambers County Texas they confiscated $144,000 THAT I WITNESSED!!! How much more did they get that day that I was not aware of?
After that day I spent in jail, witnessing all of that, and listening to their stories, I’m convinced that police have some type of “radar” that can detect large groupings of those little security strips in currency. If not, how could they know before searching the vehicle, and pick out THAT vehicle???
That money is just another resource that gets wasted, stolen, or misused in our broken system. Thanks to Bree for igniting me to write about this, because everyone I’ve ever told acted like my hat was made of tin-foil or something. If I had not witnessed it all myself, talked to the people involved myself, and seen the documents for myself………….I probably would not believe it either!
This story made me want to tell my story :
A Massachusetts couple has been fighting for three years to regain cash they say was wrongfully seized from them. In October 2012, the Illinois State Police pulled over Adam and Jennifer Perry for speeding as they were driving through Henry County on Interstate 80. The Perrys said they were headed to Salt Lake City, Utah to see a hearing specialist for an ear infection Adam was suffering from.
A drug dog sniffed and indicated on the car. Officers then searched the vehicle and found $107,520 in cash in a suitcase and in Jennifer’s wallet. The Perrys claimed the search was without their consent and without a warrant. According to the officers, they also found a duffel bag that reportedly smelled of marijuana.
No drugs were found in the car, nor did the government file criminal charges against the Perrys. Nevertheless, officers seized the cash and eventually transferred it to the federal government.
In a letter filed earlier this month, Adam claims that the taken cash came from savings and disability settlements and payments. “Our faith in the United States legal system has been shaken. Why are officer’s [sic] allowed to be judge, jury and executioner on the side of the road?” the Perrys asked in a 2013 response to federal prosecutors.
Unfortunately, their case is not unique. An extensive investigation by The Washington Post into one federal forfeiture program found nearly 62,000 cash seizures since 9/11 where police did not use warrants or charge the owners with a crime. Out of those seizures, more than 1,700 were in Illinois alone.
Moreover, for federal civil forfeiture cases, property owners are not presumed innocent and do not have a right to an attorney. With few safeguards, police and prosecutors can profit from forfeiture. Illinois agencies received more than $186 million in federal forfeiture funds between 2000 and 2013 from the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the Institute for Justice’s report, Policing for Profit.
This article originally appeared on Institute for Justice.