Sunday, June 11, 2017

The DEA's Warrantless Cash Grab

Reason reports:
Do you want to know the dirty secret about how the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confiscates suspected drug traffickers' money? The truth is, it's not hard: Agents just go to an airport and wait for cash to drop into their laps.

A March report by the Justice Department's inspector general (I.G.) found the DEA seized a whopping $4 billion in cash over the past decade using civil asset forfeiture, mostly from airports, train stations, and bus terminals.

Contrary to DEA rhetoric, these seizures have little to do with ongoing criminal investigations and everything to do with bringing in money. In 81 percent of the cases the I.G. reviewed, there were no accompanying criminal charges.

A 2016 investigation by USA Today found the DEA regularly mines American citizens' travel information and relies on a network of confidential informants in the travel industry, who often get kickbacks for snooping on suspicious passengers.

Common red flags include buying a ticket within 24 hours of travel, buying a ticket for a long flight with an immediate return, buying a one-way ticket, and traveling without checked luggage. They also include traveling to or from "a known source city for drug trafficking," which in practice can mean just about any major city in the United States.
DEA: big property rights violator.