GOVERNMENT SEIZURE--JUST CAUSE?? Reprinted from Volume 1, Issue 4, FLASHPOINT
People standing watching people on a train platform in Albuquerque have been deemed suspicious. In Buffalo of 600 people stopped in one year, only 10 were charged. In Denver approximately 200 stops with 49 arrests. In Pittsburgh 527 individuals were searched and 49 arrested.
Agents have been known to change their minds. A Tennessee agent stated in court he became leery of a man because he walked quickly through the airport. An affidavit provided by the same agent six weeks later stated 'his suspicions' were aroused because the suspect walked with intentional slowness after getting off the bus.
In Maryland, a State Trooper became wary because the individual 'deliberately did not look at me' when he drove by his position. Yet, a second Maryland Trooper stropped a man because 'the driver stared at him as he passed'.
Ethel Hylton, 49, of New York City lost $39,110 to government agents in 1989. She was stopped in the baggage area of the Houston airport, and informed she was under arrest because a drug dog had scratched at her luggage. When she asked to see the dog, the officers refused. Her bags and person were searched. Drugs were not found, yet they did find cash. The money was a settlement from an insurance claim, and her life's savings of 20 years. She had planned to purchase a home in Houston. Hylton had no previous record!
In April of 1989, agents in Louisiana, seized $23,000 from Johnny Satello, after deputies offered to assist when his truck overheated on a highway. Satello was a licensed buyer scouting heavy equipment auctions. He was not arrested, but his truck and cash were confiscated.. When legal fees grew excessive, a settlement with the Sheriff's department provided the return of his truck and only $11,500 of his cash.
On Memorial Day of 1990, Tracy Thomas was visiting his grandson. Thomas had in his possession $13,000 left over from a Sheriff's sale he attended a few days previous. The sale had required cash. Thomas had withdrawn the money from his credit union , and withdrawal slips were available. Police entered his grandson's home, looking for drugs, supposedly sold by his grandson. They found none, yet they confiscated Thomas' cash. In June of that year a judge ordered the money returned. Just before the court order was issued the police turned over the cash to the DEA for processing as a federal case. The DEA refused the judges order. Thomas legal costs mount while he sues the Chester Police, the arresting officer, and the DEA.