Tuesday, August 16, 2016

DEA, Like Other Law Enforcement Shakes Down Airline, Train Passengers

Is the DEA enforcing drug laws, or or
they just shaking down people for cash. USAToday
raised the question.  
Asset forfeiture, the habit of law enforcement of taking money from people they "suspect" of a crime, whether these people actually committed a crime or not, keeps getting more widespread, we find out.

It's basically larceny by law enforcement, but shhhh! We're suppose to call it, "Cracking down on the drug trade."

Or whatever.

According to a USA Today report last week, federal DEA agents routinely mine data on airline and Amtrak passengers to find supposedly suspicious activity, then seize large quantities of money from some of these passengers, then often let them go.

The point of this, says the DEA, is to stop the flow of cash in the drug trade. And I'm sure some or even many of the cash seizures involve drug curriers or other people involved in the illicit drug industry.

But as I've complained about regarding other police agencies, is it really OK for law enforcement to just grab money for fun and profit without due process?

Technically, it's legal in a lot of places, but doesn't seem to follow the spirit of the Constitution for me. But hey! If we can just steal money from stupid schlubs who get in our way, we don't have to go through the pain in the neck process of bothering law-abiding taxpayers.

And you keep those anti-tax and spend politicians happy.

Never mind that some of the people law enforcement steals money from are also law abiding. It's just easier this way, apparently.

Based on the USA Today report, you probably shouldn't travel one-way, pay for your ticket with cash, have checked baggage or give the ticket agent a phone number for you that's not working.

The DEA could well mine that data on you, then take your money at your next stop.

The danger of this pervasive practice, which so far nobody has really put a stop to, is that we lose more and more confidence in law enforcement. They're written off as just another part of the corrupt system.

If people come to that conclusion, what's to stop them from really breaking the law. Hey, the cops do it, why shouldn't I,? goes the logic.

But, people running these law enforcement shakedowns don't think in those terms. They just want to rake in the cash.

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