DEA to Return $43,000 It Seized From Tampa Woman at Airport
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will return more than $43,000 it seized from a Tampa woman at an airport after she joined a class-action lawsuit challenging the agency’s practice of using civil asset forfeiture to confiscate cash from travelers.
The DEA seized $43,167 from Stacy Jones last May as she was trying to fly home to Tampa, Florida, from Wilmington, North Carolina. Jones says the cash was from the sale of a used car, as well as money she and her husband intended to take to a casino.
Jones is now a named plaintiff in a class-action civil rights lawsuit filed in January by the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm. Although it is legal to fly domestically with large amounts of undeclared cash, the Institute for Justice lawsuit claims that the DEA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have a practice or policy of seizing currency from travelers at U.S. airports without probable cause simply if the dollar amount is greater than $5,000. This practice, the suit argues, violates travelers’ Fourth Amendment rights.
In a Nov. 12 letter to Jones’ attorney, the DEA announced it would be returning all of Jones’ money.
“Getting my money back is a big relief, but DEA never should have taken it in the first place,” Jones said in an Institute for Justice press release. “In going through this nightmare, I found out that I’m not the only innocent American who has been treated this way. I hope that my continuing lawsuit will end the government’s practice of treating people flying with cash like criminals.”
Under civil asset forfeiture laws, police and prosecutors can seize property when that property is suspected of being connected to
Article from Latest – Reason.com