Anastasio Prieto of El Paso gave a state police officer at the weigh station permission to search the truck to see if it contained "needles or cash in excess of $10,000," according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the federal lawsuit Thursday.I am heading out to work, so don't have a lot of time to comment, but Radley is right, this is nothing more than petty theft. There is no reason, no excuse for taking this guy's money. It is absolute insanity that we live in a nation that claims such high standards for criminal law, yet ignores it when they have the opportunity to feed the cash cow.
Prieto told the officer he didn't have any needles but did have $23,700.
Officers took the money and turned it over to the DEA. DEA agents photographed and fingerprinted Prieto over his objections, then released him without charging him with anything.
Border Patrol agents searched his truck with drug-sniffing dogs, but found no evidence of illegal substances, the ACLU said.
DEA agents told Prieto he would receive a notice of federal proceedings to permanently forfeit the money within 30 days and that to get it back, he'd have to prove it was his and did not come from illegal drug sales.
They told him the process probably would take a year, the ACLU said.
I am not averse to law enforcement having the ability to freeze assets in conjunction with criminal investigations. I have no problem with them being able to seize assets. But the burden of proof, should always, always, rest with the state, not the accused.