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Old 06-10-2014, 04:17 PM   #21
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Federal money laundering laws require forms be filled out for CASH transactions over $10,000, not for checks. Checks have a built in trail of ownership that makes them a poor choice for money laundering.
One time I did write a check for over 10K to create a cashier's check. The bank teller said, "Be back.." then disappeared for about 20 minutes...and finally came back with the cashier's check.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:22 PM   #22
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I have over 2K in cash every time I go on vacation. I don't like using my debit card and don't own a credit card. I guess i'm lucky I haven't gotten pulled over. Can't imagine they could just take my money unless they found drugs in the car. Then I can understand it.
The guy who stopped me drove a K-9 unit vehicle. He probably sees everyone he stops as potential drug dealers (guilty before innocent mentality). Yes, I do think they have to find reason to believe you have drugs in the car before taking the cash. But a part of me says, if I said that I have over 2K in cash (even though no to the drug questions) he may have tried to find a reason to take the cash. Maybe not, but who knows.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:43 PM   #23
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Saw a news program some years ago, so the details may be off a little. There was an I-10 corridor through the NOLA area where local jurisdictions where finding "excuses" to stop folks. Once they did, they found excuses to confiscate their cash (could be drug money). If any one howled, they could end up in jail. The "principle" of confiscating "suspect" money has been upheld by the USASC IIRC. Once money is seized, it is pretty much the individual's problem to "prove" that the money was obtained legally and was not intended to be used for illegal purposes. I have no idea what threshold is in place ($100?, $1000, $2000, etc.) but the principle HAS BEEN accepted IIRC.

Imagine being 2000 miles from home and a LEO pulls you over for "weaving" (this was the favorite stop method in NOLA IIRC - even though the "weaving" was BETWEEN the traffic lines.) The LEO then searched the car and the person (or else asked about money, etc.) eventually seizing the cash and leaving the person with no recourse but to fight in court (paying costs of course) or just going on his way without his cash. Eventually, THIS particular scam got so bad that it made the news and the police organizations were forced to stop it (I believe there was a hidden camera/news crew involved.) In any case, the law itself hasn't changed, but LEO organizations may have become a bit more discreet (until the next time.) Not indicting all LEOs or suggesting that this is a "usual" practice throughout the world. I'm simply highlighting my tag line. It might be a good idea to have a "tool" to use against drug mules and dealers moving large quantities of cash. But, anything that can be used against a criminal can be used against the honest person. I personally would like to have enough cash available to "buy" a new transmission if I get stranded in Lizard Lick or some place where they don't take plastic, etc.

Once again, I don't think this is a typical situation, but OP's experience makes me think either he was targeted legitimately (whatever that is) or for some "evil" intent. Who knows. BUT, in any case, review my tag line one more time as YMMV.
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:27 PM   #24
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Can't imagine they could just take my money unless they found drugs in the car. Then I can understand it.
There is some element missing from the story. I've never heard of this practice of simply seizing money without probable cause simply because it is a large sum compared to what most people carry. Done without due process, it is simply theft.

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Saw a news program some years ago, so the details may be off a little. There was an I-10 corridor through the NOLA area where local jurisdictions where finding "excuses" to stop folks. Once they did, they found excuses to confiscate their cash (could be drug money). If any one howled, they could end up in jail. The "principle" of confiscating "suspect" money has been upheld by the USASC IIRC. Once money is seized, it is pretty much the individual's problem to "prove" that the money was obtained legally and was not intended to be used for illegal purposes. I have no idea what threshold is in place ($100?, $1000, $2000, etc.) but the principle HAS BEEN accepted IIRC.
Wow, things must sure be different there. The U.S. Constitution doesn't apply?

Not doubting your story but I can't help but believe there is something being left out. Or perhaps the corruption is that bad?
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:51 PM   #25
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In 2000 DW and I bought a vintage Mercedes in Los Angeles and drove it home, loosely tracing historic Route 66.

When we got just past the Missouri state line, we got pulled over by a state trooper who claimed we were going 5 mph over the posted limit. We quickly concluded that our speed was not why he pulled us over.

He started angling toward getting our permission to search the car. Naive idiots that we were at the time, we consented. The trooper then went to his car and got a drug-sniffing dog out of the back seat.

Ultimately he and Fido found nothing, but we noticed on our way through Missouri several other motorists pulled over, trunks open and large dogs on the scene.

I mentioned the episode to a co-worker after I got home, and he pointed me to a Kansas City Star investigative series that accused the Missouri state patrol of diverting money seized in roadside searches to buy various law enforcement toys. Under state law, it was supposed to go into a public education fund, but the cops found a way to evade the law.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:09 PM   #26
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There is some element missing from the story. I've never heard of this practice of simply seizing money without probable cause simply because it is a large sum compared to what most people carry. Done without due process, it is simply theft.



Wow, things must sure be different there. The U.S. Constitution doesn't apply?

Not doubting your story but I can't help but believe there is something being left out. Or perhaps the corruption is that bad?
Can't find the NOLA story (perhaps 15 years old now - W2R do you have any sources??) but I did find (in one quick Google search the following:

“Policing for Profit:” The Police Can Confiscate Your Cash | Collapsing Into Consciousness

Highway Robbery: Tennessee Police Are Seizing Cash From Out-of-State Visitors In Policy Called “Policing For Profit” | JONATHAN TURLEY

I'm guessing there are more if you care to look. As I said, I don't know the "threshold" for seizing (the amounts in the article appear to be in the $20K and up category.) The story I recall from the NOLA area was much less. Think about it. Would you interrupt your vacation (or business or a move, etc.) to go fight for (let's say $2000) back? You would need a lawyer to even figure out where you go to register your "complaint". You might have 1 or more hearings. If the judge were "in on it" as they may have been - I forget - in the original story, you and your $300/hour lawyer could get the run around. By the time you (might) get your money back, you have spent more than you lost originally - and you might NOT get it back. Who, after all, can PROVE that the cash in their wallet came from a certain place and that it was legally obtained - especially since it all has cocaine on it (so much for your drug sniffing dogs.)

I agree that this seems unconstitutional (and theft) but go prove it for a few grand or two. I think (but won't swear) that this has cleared the SC of the US (but maybe only to the extent of denying a review of a case). I'm not interested enough in looking further (help yourself and report back). But, please don't say "that seems unconstitutional" when we have seen the stuff that has happened since 9/11 (or earlier - such as the FISA court ca1978.)

Again, I don't think this is particularly wide-spread and I don't indict all LEOs or jurisdictions. However, it can be a slippery slope when states or local jurisdictions find themselves in need of money. By the way, Hawaii, my adopted home, has a "racket" which is absolutely, totally legal and constitutional - but IMHO a very dirty deal. They charge tourists a small fortune in room and even rental car taxes. Not too big a stretch to figure ways to get passers-through to fatten the old gummint coffers so to speak. I don't want to make this a soap-box issue, but I think people should be aware that such things do go on (especially until enough folks complain).

By the way, I realize the amounts in the TENN article are "large", but what amount would folks here say should be seizable without probable cause? IOW should the simple act of "HAVING" cash be probable cause? Sounds like "hey, you won't let me search your car without a warrant - you must have something to hide - that's probable cause." Well, so far, NO. But who knows in the future. As always, smiles and kisses to those who disagree with me 'cause YMMV.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:36 PM   #27
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Koolau,

Thanks for the links.

In my case, guess when the cop found out I had no cash, no drugs, no weapons he had no need for me and asked me to move along. I offered to removed the liscense frame and he said, pretty much "forget about it now, just go on ahead". So, that frame blocking the state wasn't so important after all? I smell a rat as is corrupt cops.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:43 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Mr._Graybeard View Post
In 2000 DW and I bought a vintage Mercedes in Los Angeles and drove it home, loosely tracing historic Route 66.

When we got just past the Missouri state line, we got pulled over by a state trooper who claimed we were going 5 mph over the posted limit. We quickly concluded that our speed was not why he pulled us over.

He started angling toward getting our permission to search the car. Naive idiots that we were at the time, we consented. The trooper then went to his car and got a drug-sniffing dog out of the back seat.

Ultimately he and Fido found nothing, but we noticed on our way through Missouri several other motorists pulled over, trunks open and large dogs on the scene.
.
In 2000 Missouri was still fighting being known as 'the meth capital of the world'. There was a large emphasis placed on fighting this plague. I'm can't say that was the reason, but there was a shift in policies to help fight the meth problem.

Many products were banned, limited or otherwise controlled. Today, if a person has a bottle of Heat, some old cold medicine containing ephedrine, a couple of packs of matches, and or a pressure cooker you can technically be charged with several felonies. Obviously the prosecutors look at the amounts, prior arrests etc. but the laws are on the books.

I'm happy to say we see many less meth lab busts than 14 years ago. My understanding is much of that poison is now being smuggled in from south of the US.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:44 PM   #29
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Here's that KC Star story on money seizures by LE agencies. It addresses cases in Missouri and other states. I think the Star had other stories specifically on cases in Missouri.

Kansas City Star - Special project: Drug forfeitures
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:10 PM   #30
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Here's that KC Star story on money seizures by LE agencies. It addresses cases in Missouri and other states. I think the Star had other stories specifically on cases in Missouri.

Kansas City Star - Special project: Drug forfeitures
Thanks for the post.

At the basic level. This is a lot like the bullies guarding their turf shaking down innocent kids for milk money.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:42 PM   #31
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Revenue based law enforcement. This is why they sit by the roads running speed traps rather than investigate folks thieving copper or breaking into garages. I'm sure there are many LEOs out there that are protecting and serving, but it doesn't take many of the revenue based types to lead a person to believe otherwise.
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:16 AM   #32
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I think we often put LEO in a tough position. We want them to act to reduce crime and enforce the law, we are not forgiving when they miss opportunities or make mistakes that benefit the bad guys, yet we also want the benefit of the doubt when we are involved personally.

So far, in all my encounters, LEO has given me the benefit of the doubt, and I go out of my way to cooperate. Not sure what I'd do if I found myself in the OP's circumstance.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:59 AM   #33
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I think we often put LEO in a tough position. We want them to act to reduce crime and enforce the law, we are not forgiving when they miss opportunities or make mistakes that benefit the bad guys, yet we also want the benefit of the doubt when we are involved personally.

So far, in all my encounters, LEO has given me the benefit of the doubt, and I go out of my way to cooperate. Not sure what I'd do if I found myself in the OP's circumstance.
I'm still mixed feelings on whether the LEO who stopped me was on the shady side or just doing his job to root out potential drug dealers. Yes, my liscense plate did cover half of the state name and he did let me go after satisfied I was just a guy on vacation. But at the same time, why didn't he just run my driver's liscense through to see I was clean? Also at the end, he just told me to go when I offered to remove the plate frame. Both those behaviors were a bit odd.

I think there are parallels with the traffic stops (detaining a lot of regular citizens to nab the bad guys) with the TSA searches, and not that fair from the NSA. One one side, let the authorities do their job for the safety for all, but on the other, they are human and can abuse their power.
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Old 06-11-2014, 12:18 PM   #34
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Can't find the NOLA story (perhaps 15 years old now - W2R do you have any sources??) but I did find (in one quick Google search the following:
No, sorry! But bear in mind that the crime level in NOLA (especially drug related) is insanely high. Of course cash is always confiscated if there are large quantities of drugs, for example in this story.

Also, it is and has historically been impossible to fully staff our local law enforcement since it pays almost nothing here and is quite dangerous. So, they pretty much take any warm body willing to take the job. We probably don't have the high quality LE that exist in some other areas.

I have never been stopped and had money confiscated, or have known anybody who has experienced that. It would be a pretty dangerous practice since many/most good ol' boys around here have carry permits and are armed to the teeth at all times. This is pretty much a free fire zone IMO. It's part of the local "cultcha", so they say.

There is some crazy rule that allows one's car to be confiscated but I can't remember it right now. I am sure Frank remembers what I am thinking of, so I'll try to remember to ask him about it.
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Old 06-11-2014, 12:23 PM   #35
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Straight from the morning news today....

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When Tucson Border Patrol agents seized a truck last week, the decals from the "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service" looked spot-on. But In its flatbed, they found marijuana, in bundles, worth $1.6 million, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

It's what they call a "clone" or faked vehicle.
Drug traffickers use clone vehicles to smuggle drugs - CBS News

Maybe the K-9 units should start by stopping fake ambulances and fake police cars before going after folks with overhanging plate frames that say stuff like "My kid is an honor student" or 'I Love Fishing" or "I Love Golf"
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Old 06-11-2014, 12:54 PM   #36
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:30 PM   #37
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Wow, I stand corrected! Far removed from anything I ever did or saw at work. While I very rarely ran into drug issues and never confiscated property connected with drugs, I think I recall that Maryland requires a court hearing to determine ownership and ensure that the seized property was indeed drug-connected. Might be mistaken on that though.

It was a fairly complicated procedure and required gobs of documentation and paperwork, itself a strong disincentive.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:26 PM   #38
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Here's a link to a pretty good Frontline (PBS) summary of the rise in police use of civil property forfeitures. According to the report, it began in earnest under the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. Special Reports - Reining In Forfeiture | Drug Wars | FRONTLINE | PBS
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:47 PM   #39
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An update. I got a new and legal (99.99999% sure) license plate frame that doesn't block anything on the plate.

Heck, I pay good money for a vanity plate so gotta showcase that with a nice frame for a return on that investment.

FYI - here's where I got the frame (plus you can see some samples too, in case you want a saying and don't want to risk getting stop by a cop assuming you're a drug dealer):

Custom License Plate Frames and Holders and Fundraising Ideas

Customer Photo Gallery
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:57 PM   #40
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Federal money laundering laws require forms be filled out for CASH transactions over $10,000, not for checks. Checks have a built in trail of ownership that makes them a poor choice for money laundering.
I think it called the "rat out your customer" aka "know your customer" law.
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