The corrupted DEA seized $3.2 billion in cash from people never under criminal investigation
03/31/2017 / By News Editors / Comments
The corrupted DEA seized $3.2 billion in cash from people never under criminal investigation

The US Drug Enforcement Administration seized $3.2 billion in cash over a 10-year period from people who were never under criminal investigation, according to a Justice Department inspector general report. Agents confiscated vehicles, jewelry, and houses, but mostly cash.

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“For the majority of the seizures we examined, the department could not verify that the seizure could advance or was related to a criminal investigation,” said Michael Horowitz, Inspector General, Justice Department in a video accompanying the 74-page report, released on Wednesday.

Inspectors examined 100 out of 80,000 cash seizures where the DEA took in $4.15 billion in cash during cases conducted between fiscal years 2007 to 2016. The seizures were made without a court-issued warrant and without the presence of narcotics — a potential violation of the 4th Amendment. Of those, 85 were stops at transportation facilities or along highways. The smallest seizure involved $3,000 confiscated at an airport.

Only six of those 85 cases were prompted by pre-existing intelligence about a specific drug crime, and most were associated with “cold consent encounters” where officers approached people they suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and asked their permission to conduct a search.

“Most of the seizures we examined occurred at transportation facilities and were initiated based on the observations and immediate judgement of DEA agents and state and local task force officers, without preexisting intelligence of a specific drug crime,” said Horowitz.

Responding to the findings, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco said the inspector general took a sample that was not representative of broader Justice Department practices and drew faulty conclusions based on mistakenly analyzed data, according to Washington Post.

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