Do not EVER consent to a search by the
highwaymen police. I’ve written about this evil before. Today Mark Nestmann further explores the uncivil nature of “civil” forfeiture in the United States:
But it’s not just state and local governments that are getting in on all the fun. Federal law has authorized civil forfeiture since the dawn of the Republic more than two centuries ago. And it’s become quite profitable. The Department of Justice alone seized more than $4.5 billion in 2014. It’s just one of many federal agencies with the authority to confiscate property under federal civil forfeiture laws.
That should come as no surprise. In 1989, the Supreme Court actually ruled the federal government has a legitimate financial interest to maximize forfeiture revenues. Since then, federal agencies have developed highly sophisticated techniques to do just that.
Take the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), for instance. Earlier this year, an investigation revealed that the DEA routinely carries out “data mining” of Americans’ travel information to build profiles of individuals who might be carrying large sums of cash. Using a nationwide network of travel industry informants, the DEA gives special attention to individuals who meet secret “drug courier” profiles, such as buying one-way tickets or purchasing their tickets with cash. Amtrak and airline employees who pass information on to the DEA are eligible for generous commissions if the tip leads to a seizure.
Over the last decade, the agency has seized at least $209 million in cash from 5,200 passengers. In the vast majority of cases, the passengers weren’t arrested; they were given a receipt for the seized cash and sent on their way. For instance, of 1,600 DEA forfeitures in Los Angeles in the last 10 years, only one was in connection with a criminal investigation.
Are you outraged? You should be – and it’s probably about to get worse. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed a “Restoring Community Safety Act” that he claims will reduce “surging” crime in America’s cities. But the fact is that violent crime nationwide has actually been falling for the last 25 years. Given the love affair police at all levels of government have for civil forfeiture, it’s inconceivable that a Trump anti-crime bill won’t further unleash the forfeiture squads in America.
Law and disorder in Amerika. Beware.