By Liberty Paige | March 10, 2020
Terrence Rolin, a 79-year-old man, had to sue the DEA and the TSA in January to get his life savings
back from them after they took his cash from his daughter six months ago without any evidence of a
crime. So much for due process and the Constitution.
The class-action lawsuit is still pending but he will be getting his money back soon. The Institute for
Justice, a public interest law firm who is helping him with the lawsuit, received a letter that said, “after
further review, a decision has been made to return the property.”
Rolin’s daughter Rebecca had taken $82,373 of her dad’s money with her to the Pittsburgh
International Airport and planned to get on a plane to take it home because she didn’t have enough
time to deposit it in a bank. After checking on the government website to make sure she could travel with
cash, she put it in her carry-on.
She was stopped at the gate by the DEA who questioned her about the money after it showed up on
a security scan. They called her father, who has some mental issues because of his age, and their
stories didn’t match up so the DEA seized the cash even though it’s perfectly legal to travel with large
amounts of money.
It’s another case of American citizens are getting treated like criminals even though they have
committed no crimes. Institute for Justice senior attorney Dan Alban said in a press release, “You
don’t forfeit your constitutional rights when you try to board an airplane. It is time for TSA and federal
law enforcement to stop seizing cash from travelers simply because the government considers
certain amounts of cash ‘suspicious.'”
Rebecca is grateful that her dad will get his money back soon but says that it should have never been
taken in the first place. She said, “I can’t believe they’re not even offering an apology for the stress
and pain they caused for my family.” Because of the money seizure, her dad was unable to fix his
truck or get needed dental work.
The DEA seizes cash using something called civil asset forfeiture. It allows police to take cash and
property suspected as being attached to criminal activity even if no crimes are charged. Doesn’t
sound like they care about due process which means the innocent people have no recourse.
Many states have passed reforms having to do with civil asset forfeiture because of civil liberty issues
but it looks like the federal government is still going wild, seizing cash at airports, train stations and
bus terminals when the amount is more than $5,000.
A USA Today investigation was done in 2016 and it found that of 100 cash seizures that were
reviewed, only 44 of them were connected to a crime or resulted in a criminal investigation.
In 2016, a USA Today investigation found the DEA seized more than $209 million from at least 5,200
travelers in 15 major airports over the previous decade with the help of confidential informants who
are travel industry employees and by snooping on travel records.
Rebecca Brown and her dad are continuing their fight.. She said, ”The government shouldn’t be able
to take money for no reason, hang on to it for months, and then give it back like nothing happened,
which is why the lawsuit we filed will continue. No one should be forced to go through this nightmare.”
This piece originally appeared on SteveGruber.com and is used by permission.
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