A bombshell report from the Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Justice has exposed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for the colossal thieves they are. According to the report, DEA seized more than $4 billion in cash from people since 2007, but $3.2 billion of the seizures were never connected to any criminal charges. That figure does not even include the seizure of cars and electronics.
This thievery is possible through the insidious practice of civil asset forfeiture (CAF), where law enforcement can seize cash and property on the mere suspicion of being involved in criminal activity. Originally developed in the 1980s to go after organized crime, CAF has mushroomed into a source of revenue for cops across the country – from local to state to federal – in what’s become known as Policing for Profit.
When an innocent person’s cash is stolen by DEA, that person must petition to get it back, meaning the burden of proof (and the burden of time and expense) is on the unlucky victim who never did anything wrong in the first place. In fact, “forfeiture proceedings start from the presumption of guilt.”
It’s a clever scheme, and DEA knows it. The IG found that petitions were filed in only 20 percent of DEA cash seizures. As Reason Magazine points out, the IG report highlights just how arbitrary these seizures can be.
The case of a man traveling at an airport with $27,000 is a prime example of how DEA can just take the cash on a whim, without even bothering to pretend it has to do with criminal activity.
Reason Magazine sums it up perfectly.
Indeed, most of the DEA’s cash seizures don’t relate to any criminal investigation, and 82 percent of the cases reviewed by the IG were settled without any judicial review. The DEA focuses on airports, train stations and bus terminals, relying on travel records and a host of confidential informants to target people they believe will have lots of cash.
DEA gives itself wide latitude to pin you as a suspect for detainment and search. Woe to those “traveling to or from a known source city for drug trafficking, purchasing a ticket within 24 hours of travel, purchasing a ticket for a long flight with an immediate return, purchasing a one-way ticket, and traveling without checked luggage.”
The IG concludes that DEA is posing great risks to civil liberties by continuing the practices highlighted in its report.
The IG states that “risks to civil liberties are particularly significant when seizures that do not advance or relate to an investigation are conducted without a court-issued seizure warrant, the presence of illicit narcotics, or subsequent judicial involvement prior to administrative forfeiture.”
The threat to civil liberties posed by CAF is being recognized more and more, as states continue to abolish the practice by requiring a criminal conviction before cash and assets can be seized. But the federal government is a primary reason why CAF still runs rampant, through the euphemistically named Equitable Sharing Fund where the stolen loot (amounting to $28 billion over the last decade) is shared by federal and state drug task forces.
by Justin Gardner
March 30, 2017
Full Report: https://drugs-forum.com/attachments/e1702-pdf.123263/?temp_hash=f9850c1c487aa01ec2dbd41e18179eec
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Gang Of Thieves: DEA Stole $3.2 Billion In Cash From Innocent People In Only A Decade