by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:
For decades now, federal government and their cohorts in law enforcement have been carrying out theft of the citizenry on a massive scale using Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF). The 1980’s-era laws were designed to drain resources from powerful criminal organizations, but CAF has become a tool for law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to steal money and property from countless innocent people. As the case below illustrates, many of those in law enforcement will use CAF as a punitive measure against innocent people for merely asserting their rights.
TRUTH LIVES on at https://sgtreport.tv/
No criminal charge is required for US law enforcement to use CAF, resulting in easy inflows of cash for law enforcement departments and the proliferation of abuse. This phenomenon is known as “policing for profit.”
In the last 30 years, the amount of “profit” stolen through civil asset forfeiture has skyrocketed.
According to the US Department of Justice, the value of asset forfeiture recoveries by US authorities from 1989-2010 was $12,667,612,066, increasing on average 19.5% per year.
In 2008, law enforcement took over $1.5 billion from the American public. While this number seems incredibly large, just a few years later, in 2014, that number tripled to nearly $4.5 billion.
When we examine these numbers, and their nearly exponential growth curve, it appears that police in America are getting really good at separating the citizen from their property — not just really good either, criminally good.
To put this number into perspective, according to the FBI, victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses in 2014.
That means that law enforcement in America, in 2014, stole $600,000,000 more from Americans than actual criminal burglars.
In many instances, even if no crime was committed, it takes years for people to get back their property — if they get it back at all.
Gerardo Serrano was one of these victims whose Ford truck contributed to billions stolen from Americans in 2015. It took him years to get it back despite not having committed any crime. He is now fighting his way to the Supreme Court to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
In 2015, Serrano became the victim of power-tripping Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents who targeted him for CAF for simply asserting his rights. Serrano was traveling to Mexico to visit family in 2015 and was subsequently detained, searched, and robbed by the CBP. The Institute for Justice has taken up his case and explained how the incident unfolded:
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) didn’t like that Gerardo took photos at the border, which he planned to share on social media with relatives in Mexico to let them know he would see them soon. Two agents objected and, after stopping Gerardo’s truck, physically removed him from it, took possession of his phone, and repeatedly demanded the password. Gerardo, a staunch believer in civil liberties who has run for elected office on a platform of respect for constitutional rights, suggested that the agents obtain a warrant. The border agents responded by telling Gerardo they were “sick of hearing about [ ] rights.” In retaliation, they went through his new Ford pickup with a fine-tooth comb searching for any excuse to seize his vehicle. They found five low-caliber bullets, which they absurdly called “munitions of war,” and used them as an excuse to take his vehicle. (There was no gun in the vehicle.) For the next two years, despite Gerardo’s repeated requests, the government never gave him his day in court to prove his vehicle’s innocence or to force the government to justify its actions before a judge.
The Free Thought Project spoke to Serrano this week, who explained the malicious nature of the CBP seizure.
“The border agents had a chance to keep the bullets or ask me to turn around. They did not need to hurt a guy with a license that can conceal and carry in Texas,” he told TFTP.