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DEA - Street Thugs Gone Legit

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DEA - Street Thugs Gone Legit#1
Posted: 8/25/07 at 12:16pm
Question:

When is the DEA going to raid some of the high-end parties in the Hamptoms or in Malibu and seize the assets of its guests? I am sure they might even find some illegal drug activity going on during the raid, whether it be gambling or drugs, and probably well more than $10,000 on some guests.

This is just disgusting. Cases like this are why we need the ACLU - With no probable cause, a truck driver is pulled over, searched, $23,000 of his money seized, finger-printed, his vehicle searched by drug-sniffing dogs (and found clean) and still, they keep his money.

This is nothing more than a government shakedown.

Sometimes I cringe at who the ACLU supports, but in this case, I am making a donation to help fight for the little guy. We have turned into a thug country run by a bully president.

The presumption is innocent until proven guilty. And the confiscation laws were meant to apply when there was evidence of illegal activity at the time of the stop. They are so out of control.

I wonder if this would have happened to a white trucker. I really do. Maybe they thought they guy had to be a drug mule. Maybe they thought a lot of things. But that is not their job - they are not the judge, jury, or even the fricking bailiff . . . they are just a bunch of gansters posing as DEA agents..

...

"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. A trucker has sued the Drug Enforcement Administration, seeking to get back nearly $24,000 seized by DEA agents earlier this month at a weigh station on U.S. 54 in New Mexico north of El Paso, Texas.

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.

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.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants violated Prieto's right to be free of unlawful search and seizure by taking his money without probable cause and by fingerprinting and photographing him.

"Mere possession of approximately $23,700 does not establish probable cause for a search or seizure," the lawsuit said.

It said Prieto pulled into the weigh station about 10:30 a.m. Aug. 8 and was let go about 4 p.m.

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.

The ACLU's New Mexico executive director, Peter Simonson, said Prieto needs his money now to pay bills and maintain his truck. The lawsuit said Prieto does not like banks and customarily carries his savings as cash."



Gansters posing as DEA
Updated On: 8/25/07 at 12:16 PM
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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#2
Posted: 8/25/07 at 12:39pm
I could also go into a who rant about how the DEA is targeting MMJ dispensaries in California (which are legal in California but illegal under federal law) but seem to turn a blind eye to the far more dangerous and deadly meth labs that seem to grow overnight in the inland empire.

Even though people run shops that are clearly within the parameters of state laws, the DEA raids them, sometimes with the assistance of LAPD (over the objection of LA city council) and basically destroy the shop, confiscate all of the plants medicine on site, as well as all of the money. It is a very easy thing to do, because people are there trying to do business legally, so they are not going to find a lot of resistance.

The DEA closes down shop after shop, going after the low risk business that provide a drug that according to many researchers provides support and relief for a variety of symptoms. Meanwhile, they stay away from the real scourge of the meth labs.

I have very little respect for the path the DEA has taken in its "war on drugs."

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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#3
Posted: 8/25/07 at 3:41pm
"The lawsuit said Prieto does not like banks and customarily carries his savings as cash."

ummm...there are some things that raise huge red flags

That said, however, the "war on drugs" is as bad a manipulation as the "war on terror." It keeps the general populous in check and affords those in control yet another way to line their pockets.
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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#4
Posted: 8/25/07 at 4:04pm
1 red flag - the guy claimed he did not like to use banks. And, in some cultures, that is not uncommon.

Does walking down the street with $20,000 mean that the government can now confiscate it? Unfortunately, yes.

The confiscation laws already bothered me, and this just seems like an extreme example where you have to prove your innocence in order to recover your property, even though they found no evidence of any illegal activity.

The government is out of control - and, because local police and DEA get to keep a share of everything they confiscate, they have no reason to back off.

If you look into what the DEA is doing in states that have legalized Marijuana for medicinal purposes it will just about make you sick.
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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#5
Posted: 8/25/07 at 8:46pm
Richardson or Kucinich could fix the Med. Pot issue. Richardson passed a medical marijuana law in his state. Kucinich is pro-pot, decriminalization, Medical and dare I say legal for everyone. Smoke em' if ya got um'. DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit
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Updated On: 8/25/07 at 08:46 PM
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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#6
Posted: 8/25/07 at 9:41pm
I believe it is a felony to carry more than $10,000 in US currency as a private citizen.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#7
Posted: 8/25/07 at 10:03pm
I believe it is a felony to bring that much into the US without proper documentation.

And, you cannot open a bank account with more than $10,000 in cash for purpose of avoid money laundering.

But, I do not believe that mere possession of the cash alone is a crime. It may be a red flag that criminal activity is afoot, but mere possession of the amount by itself is not a crime.
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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#8
Posted: 8/25/07 at 11:54pm
While going over the border into Quebec in July I was asked if I had more than $10,000 cash on me. I just laughed and laughed.

It's an interesting and upsetting story, YWIW. Thanks for bringing notice to it here.
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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#9
Posted: 8/26/07 at 1:30am
YWIW, how do you know there was no probable cause? Because none is mentioned in the article does not mean none is articulated in a police report somewhere. Were there inconsistencies in the driver's statement? Were there inconsistencies in his log book? Was he traveling from one source city to another? What was his bill of lading? Does he have a prior criminal record for some type of trafficking? Were the police acting on information received from a reliable source? The absence of drugs in the vehicle does not necessarily denote an absence of criminal activity, whether or not charges have been filed at this time.

Not enough details known yet. Possibly he is an innocent victim of the system, or perhaps not. I'd like more info, but if there's an ongoing investigation, we're not going to see it.

The mere fact that the state police were in contact with the DEA suggest to me that possibly more was involved. No one likes working with the feds. [Yes, I know I shouldn't speak for everyone, but I will.] Other feds don't like working with feds. [Again, I shouldn't speak for other people, but I will.] In the case of money seizures, if this were truly a shakedown then the state police officer would have been smart to seize the money on a state level rather than turn it over to the DEA. The DEA's percentage passed on the the state officer's department would be miniscule in comparison.

A person can walk the streets with any amount of cash in their pockets and it's not illegal. But if you want to enter or depart the country with excess of $10,000 then a federal declaration form needs to be completed and filed. Just like any banking transaction can be made in excess of $10,000 as long as the paperwork is completed and filed through the bank.
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DEA = Street Thugs Gone Legit#10
Posted: 8/26/07 at 2:26am
The man was pulled over at the weigh scales and asked if he had money or needles - he said yes to money, and then no to needles, and then the search to begin.

Generally, probable cause is reasonable belief that a crime had been committed. No such evidence of probable cause, (save the money in his truck which by itself is not a crime) to support confiscation. And then, finding nothing to hold him on, he is free to go. But his money, well, that is another thing.

I just wonder if the way this war is waged will turn honest citizens into criminals because the government has taken away some of its options.

And, I believe, (but could not swear) that the locals have to get the DEA involved in order to share the booty confiscated.