Veteran Robbed of $60k+ for Marijuana Smell; Never Charged
Court ruled a veteran robbed of over sixty thousand dollars by Nebraska State Troopers and the DEA had no right to object to the robbery.
No matter what Eric Holder promised, civil forfeiture is still going strong. According to the Institute of Justice’s Mark Brewer, writing at Forbes.com, a recent decision by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has made sure that such open thievery will continue in many Midwestern states.
We just need to face up to the fact that the Feds expect and want to rob us without being hassled by obstructions like “innocent until proven guilty” or the “right to a trial.”
What country do you think you live in? America? We get to keep the name for the sake of making it easier for the government to maintain control. But the Republic is a ghost that haunts the landscape and not much more than that.
A decorated Air Force veteran, Mark Brewer was “guilty” of possessing two articles about using drugs and allegedly having a marijuana odor in his car. So maybe after his career as a military police and serving in Afghanistan he got into some less disreputable activities. Perhaps the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that got him a medical discharge led him to make bad decisions. I don’t know. I’m just speculating on the assumption that he is guilty of something. No one has any proof.
We will never know because the government has never charged Brewer with even a misdemeanor. They didn’t even charge him for the traffic violation that was the pretext that Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Wintle used to pull him over—switching lanes without using his turn signal.
After gaining Brewer’s consent, Wintle walked around the car with a canine unit; the dog alerted to the trunk. When he searched the trunk, Wintle found two backpacks that had a “strong odor of raw marijuana” and $63,530 in cash.
Brewer said he was travelling to Los Angles to visit his uncle and planned to use the money as a down payment for a house. According to Brewer, he had been saving that cash during his military service and from disability payments. Wintle did not believe his story, so Brewer’s cash was seized and his car was towed.
The man working for the organization that is going to buy new toys with the money they take from you was not convinced by your story. But they never had evidence to charge Brewer with anything.
Since Nebraska has laws that limit civil forfeiture in some way, the Sheriff’s Department quickly handed off the case to the DEA. The DEA then took the assets under Federal law and shared part of them with the Sheriff’s Department, circumventing any obstructions in the Nevada law. This procedure is named, in true Orwellian style, “equitable sharing.”
A 2010 report by the Institute for Justice found that Nebraska is one of just three states that impose the same high evidentiary standard (beyond a reasonable doubt) on the government in both criminal prosecutions and civil forfeiture proceedings. But for federal forfeiture cases, prosecutors need only show that the property was more likely than not used in connection with a crime—a much easier burden to meet. Moreover, equitable sharing lets local and state law enforcement to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of forfeited property; Nebraska state law allows 75 percent.
This is the disgusting world of badged robbery that we live in, not in Mexico or Venezuela or Russia, but in the United States of America. These people are lawless thieves and the enemies of the American people—from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department in Nebraska to the judges of the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.