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Federal Appeals Court: Driving With Money is a Crime

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posted on Aug, 21 2006 @ 12:22 AM
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Federal Appeals Court: Driving With Money is a Crime

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that if a motorist is carrying large sums of money, it is automatically subject to confiscation. In the case entitled, "United States of America v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit took that amount of cash away from Emiliano Gomez Gonzolez, a man with a "lack of significant criminal history" neither accused nor convicted of any crime.

On May 28, 2003, a Nebraska state trooper signaled Gonzolez to pull over his rented Ford Taurus on Interstate 80. The trooper intended to issue a speeding ticket, but noticed the Gonzolez's name was not on the rental contract. The trooper then proceeded to question Gonzolez -- who did not speak English well -- and search the car. The trooper found a cooler containing $124,700 in cash, which he confiscated. A trained drug sniffing dog barked at the rental car and the cash. For the police, this was all the evidence needed to establish a drug crime that allows the force to keep the seized money.

Associates of Gonzolez testified in court that they had pooled their life savings to purchase a refrigerated truck to start a produce business. Gonzolez flew on a one-way ticket to Chicago to buy a truck, but it had sold by the time he had arrived. Without a credit card of his own, he had a third-party rent one for him. Gonzolez hid the money in a cooler to keep it from being noticed and stolen. He was scared when the troopers began questioning him about it. There was no evidence disputing Gonzolez's story.


The article continues:



Yesterday the Eighth Circuit summarily dismissed Gonzolez's story. It overturned a lower court ruling that had found no evidence of drug activity, stating, "We respectfully disagree and reach a different conclusion... Possession of a large sum of cash is 'strong evidence' of a connection to drug activity."

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[edit on 21-8-2006 by loam]




posted on Aug, 21 2006 @ 12:58 AM
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Practically all used money smells of drugs, so that's a red herring. But in most cases the money is returned if the owner can show any evidence whatsoever that he/she obtained it legally. Most criminals tend to abandon it considering themselves lucky to just lose their money rather than their freedom.



posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 05:11 AM
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Its a horrible abuse of power that Law Enforcement has been using for some time. Since probably around 1930s when the mob legalized into the Feds.
I have personally been in a situation similar to this. I was arrested along with six others for possesion of marijuana. One person claimed it and everyone was arrested their were no charges filed just had to bail out as did everyone on account of no evidence



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