DEA Accessing Millions Of Travelers' Records To Find Cash To Seize

from the trolling-for-dollars dept

The DEA -- along with several other law enforcement agencies -- has shown, over the years, that civil asset forfeiture is the tail wagging the dog. It may have been put in place to separate criminals from their cash, but is now used mainly to pad agency budgets and increase discretionary spending.

This attitude is summed up by the former DEA supervisor quoted in Brad Heath's (USA Today) investigation into the agency's forfeiture activities.

“They count on this as part of the budget,” said Louis Weiss, a former supervisor of the DEA group assigned to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. “Basically, you’ve got to feed the monster.”

The monster is insatiable. The DEA loves taking cash from travelers so much it has hired TSA screeners as informants, asking them to look for cash when scanning luggage. It routinely stops and questions rail passengers in hopes of stumbling across money it can take from them.

But it goes further than just hassling random travelers and paying government employees to be government informants. As the USA Today's article points out, the DEA is datamining traveler info to streamline its forfeiture efforts.

DEA agents have profiled passengers on Amtrak trains and nearly every major U.S. airline, drawing on reports from a network of travel-industry informants that extends from ticket counters to back offices, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Agents assigned to airports and train stations singled out passengers for questioning or searches for reasons as seemingly benign as traveling one-way to California or having paid for a ticket in cash.

The DEA's cash-seizing efforts add another layer of surveillance to the traveling experience. It's not just multiple agencies looking for terrorists. It's also at least one agency looking for nothing more than cash. And it works. Heath notes that the DEA's surveillance apparatus has resulted in at least $209 million seized from over 5,000 passengers over the last decade.

This is wonderful news if you believe the DEA's job is to take cash off the streets. Not so much if you believe it should be taking criminals off the street.

In most cases, records show the agents gave the suspected couriers a receipt for the cash — sometimes totaling $50,000 or more, stuffed into suitcases or socks — and sent them on their way without ever charging them with a crime.

Case in point: the DEA seized $25,000 from a traveler after profiling her as a suspected drug courier, based on her itinerary and a past conviction for smuggling. But even though the DEA suspected her of being part of a trafficking operation, it seemed entirely uninterested in doing anything more than taking the cash.

Agents seized the money, and let Tillerson go. Her lawyer, Cyril Hall, said she was never arrested, or even questioned about whether she could give agents information about traffickers.

A year later, Tillerson produced paperwork showing the cash the DEA seized was lawfully obtained. The government agreed to give it back -- minus $4,000 prosecutors decided to keep just because.

The DEA, of course, claims that seizing cash (without pursuing indictments) is an essential part of its efforts to cripple drug trafficking operations. But after several decades of interdiction and forfeitures, most drug cartels seem to be every bit as financially healthy as the DEA is.

The perverse incentives of asset forfeiture don't just corrupt the DEA. They infect everyone involved in the process.

Five current and former agents said the DEA has cultivated a wide network of such informants, who are taught to be on the lookout for suspicious itineraries and behavior. Some are paid a percentage if their tips lead to a significant seizure.

[...]

[A]mtrak’s inspector general revealed that agents had paid a secretary $854,460 over nearly two decades in exchange for passenger information. A later investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general found that the secretary initially looked up reservations only at agents’ request, but quickly “began making queries on his own initiative, looking for indicators that a person might be planning to transport illegal drugs or money on a train,” according to a report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Airlines refuse to work directly with the DEA, but that hasn't stopped the agency from finding airline employees willing to peruse itineraries -- or pass them on to the DEA -- for a cut of the cash. The DEA can't use info from terrorist databases, so it has created an ad hoc network of informants to create a cash-focused surveillance network. Cash is king. Everything else about the drug war -- indictments, convictions, etc. -- is just a sideline.

“We want the cash. Good agents chase cash,” said George Hood, who supervised a drug task force assigned to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago before he retired in 2007. “It was just easier to get the asset, and that’s where you make a dent in the criminal organization.”

Welcome to the Drug War, where whatever's "easiest" is the government's focus.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 3:38am

    RICO?

    How is this not an organized crime syndicate? The primary purpose being stealing money from anyone that happens to be carrying it.

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    • identicon
      David, 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:18am

      Re: RICO?

      It's not an organized crime syndicates because they are operating according to the law as part of law enforcement. Granted, "laws" made up without any regard to the governing law of the land (the U.S. Constitution) but at least law that has managed passing the muster of the Supreme Court which in that manner abrogated its own authority and responsibility over due process and gave in to the doctrine of fascism by letting law enforcement enact its own schemes for their own purposes outside of judicial oversight.

      You need to dig into a whole festering wagonload of moral, political, structural and vocational corruption to get this particular derailed part of lawless enrichment back on the tracks of a system deserving the title of "justice". Everyone in the system is more than willing to hold onto the side benefits of this little racket, be it because of cold cash or warm recommendations and currying favor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 15 Aug 2016 @ 3:45am

    Oh oh I got it!

    Can we blame it on African Americans? Because this is how the government operates in the most corrupt of African backwater countries. So all those black people in the government have turned our government corrupt even when they were admitted into the country based on their solemn promise to merely provide cheap slave labor. And we need Trump to clean it up and keep out the new invasion of corrupted Mexican work slaves (outside of selected enterprises), just like we need him to fix Obama going into Afghanistan (apparently while wearing a G. W. Bush mask).

    Something like that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:51am

      Re: Oh oh I got it!

      assuming the /s ...

      You are doing it right.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Abhorred By Legal Robbery, 16 Aug 2016 @ 12:17pm

      Re: Oh oh I got it!

      I don't know where you get your info, but I'm pretty sure this unconstitutional action against those who are equally guilty of violating our US Constitution has more to do with the fact that many of the enemies of the US have found a million ways around our constitution and the government has to use tactics that will neutralize many of those acts against its laws. The DEA will hopefully know when someone is just moving themselves and not illegal contraband. Money in and of itself should not be seen as contraband, but a means to purchase it as well as legal tender to purchase legal property. DUE PROCESS IS STILL LAW OF THE LAND.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:20am

    We have something here (that seems to apply to the US) called "public faith". This principle 'dresses' the Government with an additional layer of trust sometimes effectively inverting the burden of proving guilty into proving innocent, a much harder requirement.

    Case point: I've received a ticket for parking in a forbidden place recently but at the time I (and my car) was about 150km away. I managed to produce evidence the ticket was wrong (road tolls via those electronic tags) but it was out of sheer luck. Then it happened again in a street I actually left my car but the ticket says my car was 100m ahead of the actual place. Needless to say, the place my car was is allowed while the place the ticket says it was is not. I can't prove this one wrong so now I take pictures of my car along with the place and other details, all time stamped, to be able to prove my innocence.

    These traffic tickets are clearly being used as money generators here. The Government must be very restricted on how to use the money. It must never remain in the agency/office that generated them (let alone the same Govt branch) and there must be easy and available mechanisms for recovery or appealing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 5:35am

      Re:

      In my country, to prove the ticket that your vehicle was parked improperrly or speeding, the police will mail you a clear picture of the infraction, after human review and allow you to contest it normally.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 5:40am

      Re:

      Use the first incident to claim that there is a duplicate of your number plate in use. Also keep an eye out for such a car.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:34am

        Re: Re:

        That's what I did. But it's clear it's just money-grabbing. I got a parking ticket on that place a few months before after midnight. The back of the indicative signs is black and there was no indication (ie: the yellow strips on the ground) the street was 2-way so I was wrong. Then weird tickets started coming. I've appealed 3 of them already after over 10 years of no ticket whatsoever. Suspicious, no? On the last appeal I asked for a through audit of my case.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Norahc, 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:54am

    War on drugs

    Well, since the DEA is "at war" against drugs, they seem to have adopted the rape, pillage, and plunder aspects of it too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 5:19am

    Let's drop the flowery language of "Asset Forfeiture" and call it what it really is. Legalized Stealing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:35am

      Re:

      It is taxing the drug trade actually. Since they have no problem seizing as much as they can without charging anyone, this is clearly just a tax collection system.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re:

        People from whom cash is stolen are not necessarily involved in the drug trade, that is simply the excuse being used to justify the illegal activity, ie: stealing your cash.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 5:41pm

        Re: Re:

        "It is taxing the drug trade actually."

        The lack of successful, or even attempted, convictions for actually trading drugs suggests otherwise.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:01am

      Re:

      I've always been fond of 'Theft at badge-point', or 'Armed robbery at badge-point'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 15 Aug 2016 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      I would not call it "legalized" as long as it is in direct conflict with the Fourth Amendment and due process in general.

      Government likes to penalize "structured payments": sums that have been divided into parts small enough to escape individual scrutinization.

      Civil asset forfeiture is part of structuring fascism, the doctrine of giving the interests of the government priority over the interests of the people. Which is in direct contradiction with the government serving the people's interest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 5:46am

    “It was just easier to get the asset, and that’s where you make a dent in the criminal organization.”

    I don't know of another statement that demonstrates as clearly as this exactly how delusional this agency is. This is just the new cost of doing business. The DEA isn't even looking for the drugs anymore, and would rather prefer they get sold first so they have a chance to seize the proceeds instead of seizing a shipment that may be worth millions on the street but is literally worthless once in the possession of the feds.

    This is evidenced by the fact that nobody transporting this money is arrested or coerced into becoming informants or even a cursory investigation being opened into the origins of the money. This sends the message to these 'criminal organizations' that this is the new cost of business. The DEA isn't concerned with your drug conspiracy/trafficking network as long as you keep sending that sweet sweet cash their way via easily detectable means.

    They seized 209 million dollars over a 10 year period. The last I checked (about 2012-2014), the global illicit drug market was 500 billion dollars per year. A half a trillion dollars a year in illegal drug money passes hands, and the DEA is patting itself on the back and holding celebrations for taking 20 million dollars annually out of this market. "We saved America guys! Time to go home for the day," is what I imagine them saying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      A half a trillion dollars a year in illegal drug money passes hands, and the DEA is patting itself on the back and holding celebrations for taking 20 million dollars annually out of this market.

      Out of some markets. Basically the confiscated money should have a good case for civil rights violation since it clearly is mainly taken for rather racist "guilt by association" hand-waving arguments. Maybe some People for the Ethical Treatment of Assets association needs to take up the gauntlet for all those mishandled little Benjamin Franklins.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2016 @ 3:04am

      Re:

      And after you take out the overheads (salaries/wages, informant fees etc) and subsequent costs (reviews etc) .. negative "profit"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:10am

    How long before the DEA 'interrogates' tourists for upto 60 days without charge, unless they agree to use an ATM to cash out their debit / credit cards?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Starke (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 3:18pm

      Re:

      As I recall, this is already happening. There was a portable POS system getting shopped around a couple months ago for Law Enforcement, to allow them to empty out debit cards in the field.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:14am

    Worst part is, this money doesn't go to the DEA, not one fucking cent.

    It ALL goes to DEA management's private bank accounts so they can buy holiday homes, cars etc. Nothing to do with drug prevention, everything to do with how much the DEA management can steal

    Chuck Rosenberg despite being on the standard DEA chief salary 'somehow' earned over 40 million dollars since he took the post in 2015, along with holiday homes, high-end sports car etc.

    And if you try to FOIA it, you're told 'national security' they can't say how/where he got the money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:21am

      Re:

      thanks for info, going to dig into that some,but i have no doubt it is corruption all the way down...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      In all fairness, that could be from bribes from the drug cartels, rather than from asset forfeiture.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re:

        At this point the two are pretty much interchangeable.

        With overt bribery the agents look the other way and let the sellers and couriers off the hook in exchange for a little kickback.

        With 'asset forfeiture'/indirect bribery the agents look the other way and let the sellers and couriers off the hook in exchange for the money they were carrying.

        In both cases there's a transfer of money and the sellers and couriers are let go, the rest is just trifling details.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 2:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:


          With 'asset forfeiture'/indirect bribery the agents look the other way and let the sellers and couriers off the hook in exchange for the money they were carrying.


          Except they also take money from law abiding citizens who have nothing to do with the drug trade.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:26am

        Re: Re:

        Good thing that he didn't trigger the $10,000 deposit triggers nor the structuring of individual deposits.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:15am

    Roll it back to zero

    The number of days since the DEA made their last civil asset forfeiture.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:35am

      Re: Roll it back to zero

      With how money hungry they are I think using an hour counter rather than a day one would be a better choice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re: Roll it back to zero

        I don't think you have grasped the extent of the problem. A second counter would not likely make use of more than 3 digits, ever.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:16am

    May 2015 - August 2016 is 15 months.

    £40 million divided by 15 is $2,666,666 PER MONTH into his private bank accounts in Bermuda, London and Paris.

    And somehow Chuck the terrorist/thieving warlord isn't in a supermax prison for this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rich, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:39am

    Reason #43 why I do not carry cash.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:46am

      But sometimes you can't help it

      I went on vacation this summer to a foreign country and had to carry cash. The country I was going to was a cash and carry only country that has been having huge banking issues so I did what I had to. I was only carrying around $10k, but I was nervous as hell until I got through airport security because of all the highway robbery.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brad, 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:02am

    The WOD has to stop. As far as I can tell, drugs were made illegal in order to save the users from themselves. All other negative aspects of drug use come as a result of drugs being illegal. The cure has become far worse that the disease. Let druggies ruin their lives. I want to live in freedom. Stop the WOD.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Starke (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      Not quite. The WoD started as voter suppression. "After all, you can't vote if you're convicted of a felony, why is that whacky tabaccy, I smell on ya?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      CanadianByChoice (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:39pm

      Re:

      The real problem that government has with the drug trade is that it's all untaxed revenue. Other than that, it's a good PR stalking horse.
      They really don't care what the riffraff does to themselves ... as long as all the taxes are paid (and bribes are a nice bonus).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 9:59pm

        Re: Re:

        "The real problem that government has with the drug trade is that it's all untaxed revenue."

        If only that were true, because that would be the easiest problem in the world for the government to solve. All they'd have to do is legalize and tax it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 10:11am

      Re:

      There was an interesting article I read recently, possibly on The Atlantic, where the author argued that drugs were made illegal to make it easier to arrest certain types of people.
      Communities in the south thought they had a problem with Mexican immigrants, but obviously, they couldn't arrest people for being Mexican. Instead, they found that many Mexicans smoked marijuana (which was completely legal), so their solution was to criminalize marijuana and start arresting the Mexicans.
      California thought they had a problem with Chinese immigrants. Again, they can't arrest people for being Chinese, but they found that many of these people used opium. They made opium illegal and they arrested the Chinese people.

      In the 1980's, crack cocaine was used as a way to disproportionately arrest black people: white people with powder cocaine would get far less sentences than black people with the same amount as crack cocaine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:25am

    "We can spend money, drugs not so much..."

    “We want the cash. Good agents chase cash,” said George Hood, who supervised a drug task force assigned to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago before he retired in 2007. “It was just easier to get the asset, and that’s where you make a dent in the criminal organization.”

    'Dent' in the sense that those running said organizations just write it off as a cost of doing business, and otherwise ignore it, as I imagine the vast majority of money seized this way is what amounts to pocket change to the (non-badge toting) drug organizations.

    The really perverse thing is that if all they care about is the cash that means they not only aren't as focused on the drugs, they actually want them to be sold. The DEA can't exactly seize a drug shipment and sell it for money themselves, but they can pocket the proceeds from those sales, which means if all they care about is the cash(as is apparently the case) they actually have an incentive to look the other way when drugs are sold, and not actually put a stop to or lock up the sellers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:46am

    "Welcome to the Drug War, where whatever's "easiest" is the government's focus."

    Five finger discount, easy money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:51am

    its no longer a war on drugs, its a war on cash.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 9:18am

    a tax on stupidity

    Only complete idiots would be so stupid as to travel in the United States carrying big amounts of cash, thus opening themselves up to various sorts of thieves, such as pickpockets, burglars, and armed robbers -- including (and especially) the kind that wear uniforms and badges.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 9:58am

      Re: a tax on stupidity

      This will discourage people from coming over to the United States and spending money. It will discourage tourism, which is bad for business here. The U.S. government, a government so intent on serving business interests at public expense, is harming business in the U.S. through ruining our tourism reputation. Tourism is big business, tourists that go to other countries bring money so that they can spend it. The govt probably thinks that some grandstanding press release will fix that reputation and will throw a tantrum when it doesn't.

      I wonder if the govt targets money leaving the country vs money coming in though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:34am

        Re: Re: a tax on stupidity

        One branch of the tourism industry, the ones that sell packaged group tours, probably love the USA-style "asset forfeiture" because it targets lone travelers. This gives foreign tourists an added incentive to sign on to large group tours. Safety in numbers and all that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:07am

      "That would only happen to criminals, I have nothing to worry about!"

      Cash or cards, and I imagine it's less stupidity and more most people are unaware of just how little is between the contents of their wallets and a cop or government agent(whim and an assertion of guilt basically) looking for a quick buck/couple hundred/thousand.

      Add in the 'that could never happen here' mindset and most people don't know, and don't believe that they would ever be on the receiving end of armed robbery at badge-point, meaning they don't have anything to worry about.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 9:31am

    Re

    “We want the cash. Good agents chase cash,” said George Hood, who supervised a drug task force assigned to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago before he retired in 2007. “It was just easier to get the asset, and that’s where you make a dent in the criminal organization.”

    soon to be titled "CEA" - Case Enforcement Agency

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 9:33am

    Re

    “We want the cash. Good agents chase cash,” said George Hood, who supervised a drug task force assigned to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago before he retired in 2007. “It was just easier to get the asset, and that’s where you make a dent in the criminal organization.”

    soon to be titled "CEA" - Cash Enforcement Agency

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:10am

    Goodbye Tourism

    Yet another reason for us foreigners to stay the hell out of America

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:23am

    Are travellers checks exempt from seizure? It's not cash and requires you to sign to cash the check. However if the receiver doesn't take a check you are stuck.

    Guess I will now start travelling with a wheelbarrow of chickens and other objects for barter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:41am

    Nope. DEA considers checks AND travellers checks as cash and WILL seize them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:43am

    quick math

    A little bit of math shows that the average haul is just over 40,000 per person (209 million, 5000 or so people targeted). Now, while I understand the whole arm waving thing about "the police are stealing their money" I have to ask: Why are people wandering around with that much cash?

    This isn't "took the cash out of the bank to buy something" money, these people are travelling across the country with huge sums of money on them, risking their apparent life savings rather than sending a bank wire, getting a bank draft, or other financial device making the funds "portable" - all in the name, apparently, of avoiding detection.

    You gotta ask why... and why people have so much cash to start with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:25pm

      Re: quick math

      Well besides the obvious illegal reasons. You could be travelling with a lot of cash because you don't want to pay the handling fees to do a bank transfer, you just like having money on your person, the location you are going doesn't have a branch to get access to the money, you don't want to be tracked, and it doesn't matter why I have cash on my person or in a bank. America is supposed to be a free country where I am secure in my person from theft by the government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:56pm

      Re: quick math

      No, you really don't. Last I checked carrying cash wasn't a crime, so whatever the reason they're doing so is meaningless unless it can be demonstrated via conviction in court of the person carrying it that it was related to a crime in some way, in which case then they can make a case that the cash should be forfeited(rather than simply stolen).

      If someone wants to carry $5, $500 or $5,000 in cash that's their business, and doesn't, or shouldn't open them up to the risk of being robbed by someone with a badge looking for a quick and easy payday.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:07pm

        Re: Re: quick math

        Sorry, but you are wrong here. Think of the cash like any other possession. The police stop you (say for speeding) and they ask you whos car this is. You say "I don't know" and well, see how that works out.

        Carrying a bunch of cash, and not being able to say where you got it or what you intend to do with it on this particular trip creates an issue similar to car above. Think about it: You have 50k cash on you, you have no source for that money, you have no reason to have it with you, and you are going on a trip and carrying it with you - at the peril of being robbed or worse. Why?

        Police are well within bounds to seize the car if you cannot prove why you have it (or to ask the owner to take control if they are around). Cash is no different.

        Moreover, you fall into the realm of cash transaction laws.

        https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/form-8300-and-reporting-cash-paym ents-of-over-10000

        Banks are similarly required to report such transactions as despots or transfers over $10,000 to the IRS. Generally people moving cash are trying to avoid reporting - often because they don't have enough declared income to have so much cash.

        When you consider that a wire costs about $25 to send bank to bank, it seems pretty silly to carry large amounts of cash to someone, unless you are trying to avoid reporting...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 6:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: quick math

          Think about it: You have 50k cash on you, you have no source for that money, you have no reason to have it with you, and you are going on a trip and carrying it with you - at the peril of being robbed or worse. Why?

          Because they want to, because they don't trust the banks for whatever reason, because it's none of anyone's business but their's why they have cash on them. And really, 'reason to have it on you'? Since when is it required that you present a reason to carry a perfectly legal item?

          I'll ask again, is carrying cash a crime? If, as I strongly suspect is the case, it's not, then barring a conviction of the person carrying it such an act should never result in it being stolen by the police or anyone else.

          A side question: If carrying cash is 'suspicious', what's the cut off point? You obviously think that 50K is, how about 25K? 5K? 500? At what point should someone expect to get robbed by a cop because they were carrying 'too much'?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Ninja (profile), 19 Aug 2016 @ 11:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: quick math

            He's a totalitarian asshole, don't mind him.

            When you withdraw a lot of cash you already have to take additional steps and give more info so he is just full of shit. No cop has any business with any amount of money being carried around as long as there's no warrant or any order to arrest the one carrying said money.

            The scary thing is he thinks it's right. I'm really hoping he gets into a situation where he is in the losing side. I'd love to see how his brain would twist to accept his little rosy reality is broken.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 19 Aug 2016 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: Re: quick math

          Think of the cash like any other possession. The police stop you (say for speeding) and they ask you whos car this is. You say "I don't know" and well, see how that works out.

          How about if you say "it's mine", they say "what are you doing in this neighborhood?", you say "none of your business" or "I felt like it" and the cop impounds your car because it all just smells fishy. I assume you would have no problem with that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:44am

    Someone really needs to investigate if Mastercard/Visa are paying the DEA to go after cash though.

    Credit/debit card companies are MAJOR beneficiaries of this type of theft, because people stop using cash and switch to card-based transactions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:19pm

    Uhhhh...

    “It was just easier to get the asset, and that’s where you make a dent in the criminal organization.”

    So apparently, the DEA is more interested in 'hurting them' by basically taxing the 'big bad drug dealers' than it is in prosecuting them???

    That's not fucked up at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2016 @ 4:17pm

      Re: Uhhhh...

      "...DEA is more interested in 'hurting them' by basically taxing the 'big bad drug dealers' than it is in prosecuting them???"

      Absolutely.

      If you see the government as just another gang - with really fancy titles and matching outfits - then you will see that the feds are really only interested in getting their cut of the proceeds from other criminal operations which are basically unlicensed operations.

      As far as the fed is concerned, the real crime is not offering the government its cut of the action, but arresting and incarcerating unlicensed criminals is counter-productive to increasing the amount of money available on the streets for such things as asset forfeiture, so its always best to just take their proceeds as a warning and then let 'em go so they can keep the crime stats high and maybe have a bigger operation to roust next time. I'll bet they even call the process "fishing" internally. :)

      The War on Drugs is little more than a war of territory between rival gangs.

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:52pm

    Organized crime has a new name, and it's DEA.

    So the DEA has decided to co-opt the techniques developed by organized crime.

    Organized crime: Low level men in the organization will go to businesses and collect money from individuals to be delivered up the food chain to their bosses running the organization. This money is then used to further fund the organization. If the low level man collecting the money skims some off the top, they are punished. All of this occurs without any due process

    DEA: Agents will take money from individuals, to be delivered up the food chain to the government agency itself. This money is then used to further fund the agency. If a low level agent collecting the money skims some off the top, they are punished. The only one who is given due process is the agent who steals from the agency.

    Got it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:53pm

    Mark 'Em Up

    Someone should start planting dye packs in luggage just mark the perps for public humiliation. I bet it would make a Grrrrrreeat investigate report.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 15 Aug 2016 @ 5:17pm

    DEA is Just Another Way to Spell Tyranny

    DEA is another in a long line of national security state manifestations that in a nation that values it's citizens rights above government power would be defunded and sent packing into the dust-bin of history.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:39pm

    The times they are a-changin'

    You know, there was a time when carrying large amounts of cash (like for buying a used car) made you happy to see police officers around.

    One point of paying for a police force was to be comparatively safer from robbery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Howe (profile), 17 Aug 2016 @ 2:06am

    Willing to bet....

    That if all seized funds went into the central government pot (rather than the seizing agency or state getting to keep them) it suddenly wouldn't seem such an effective measure against crime?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2016 @ 3:53pm

    "In most cases, records show the agents gave the suspected couriers a receipt for the cash — sometimes totaling $50,000 or more, stuffed into suitcases or socks — and sent them on their way without ever charging them with a crime."

    This is just Standard Fascist Police-State Operational Procedure, actually.

    You see, by taking the cash and letting the criminal walk, the Fascists get to keep the money and the perp gets to start his business over again, leading to the possibility that the cops can rob him once again.

    A very very similar operation was run by cops in Vancouver Canada, where they would bust a Grow-op, take all the cash and pot, and let the perp go free. Then, a few months later, bust the perp again and take the new proceeds from the new grow op the perp has set up.

    Rinse and repeat, until the perp moves to another city.

    Best damn way to increase the appearance of arrests, insure there are never any fewer criminals on the street, to help make the crime stats look worse, and all this while also getting stinking rich legally at the public's expense.

    Cannot think of a better example of how fascist police state cops "work".

    The cops took a tip from the Medicial Playbook.

    Doctors long ago realized that modern science could wipe out disease, and decided that would be a stupid thing to do as then they would no longer be needed.

    So instead they just prescribe chemical concoctions that mask the disease's symptoms, making the sick "feel" less discomfort, while insuring the disease remains intact and easily spread - by sick people who no longer feel sick and can rejoin society and spread the disease widely, thus insuring a long carreer for doctors everywhere.

    Criminals are to cops what diseases are to docs - a meal ticket.

    Mercenary Medicine, meet Mercenary Law Enforcement.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 17 Aug 2016 @ 3:56pm

    ooops again

    Sigh.... ya, I keep expecting my old IE browser to fill in my name and shit, but this Chrome browser doesn't do that.

    That was me above again.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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