Civil Asset Forfeiture: Guilty Until You Prove You're Innocent

in government •  18 days ago

Rustem Kazazi planned to visit Albania with his family, wife Lejla and son Erald, at the end of last year.

On that trip, he had planned to take cash with him so that he could allegedly purchase a potential vacation property. He brought more than $58k with him in a carry-on bag. It's also alleged that along with that cash, he had brought bank receipts that detailed the withdrawal information related to the cash, as well as information relating to a property of his in Albania.

Not everyone might feel comfortable traveling with such a large amount of cash on them, but Rustem says that he had his reasons.

For their own safety, they say that they opted to travel with cash because they were worried about the potential for victimization if they had been seek taking out that large an amount in a bank in Albania.

After customs noticed the cash in his carry-on however, he was taken away to be interrogated.

Rustem says that authorities in the U.S. eventually strip searched him to which he felt fully violated.

He was never charged with any crime, even though the agents eventually took tens of thousands of dollars from him.

Eventually, Rustem received a seizure notice from authorities, alerting him that the cash was seized because it was believed to be related to criminal activity. Despite no evidence being presented thus far to confirm such an accusation. He was allegedly offered several options from authorities on how to possibly resolve the issue, they included the option to completely abandon his property, to allow the government to retain a portion of his savings if they agreed to return the rest, and more.

Authorities allegedly claimed that there were several issues involved with the confiscation of his property, such as supposed inconsistent responses on his part and him having no verifiable source of income, among other problems.

His planned trip to Albania had included a layover in Newark and it was there that Rustem allegedly had plans to notify customs of the cash, declaring it as he departed for his final destination overseas. But he didn't get that chance. He had brought the cash with him in a carry-on and sent that carry-on through the airport scanner, so it hardly seems as if he was trying to hide it.

Rustem and his family decided to go with launching a lawsuit.

They've also now teamed up with the Institute for Justice, and that non-profit organization has worked for many years trying to protect Americans from government abuse and they've been able to help many families who've fallen victim to the same injustice that the Kazazi family has seen.

Rustem says that because of his distrust of the internal process involved with the customs authorities, it's prompted him to go the route of choosing to launch a lawsuit. It's also alleged that the CBP still hasn't filed a forfeiture complaint relating to the incident, and they also haven't returned the funds that Rustem says took him more than a decade to earn.

Pics:
Pixabay

Sources:
http://ij.org/case/cleveland-forfeiture/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/05/31/a-64-year-old-put-his-life-savings-in-his-carry-on-u-s-customs-took-it-without-charging-him-with-a-crime/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.23caee35b92e
https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/cleveland-metro/cleveland-man-suing-after-customs-agents-took-more-than-58000-from-him-at-airport
https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/nation/4454643-64-year-old-put-his-life-savings-his-carry-us-customs-took-it-without-charging

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https://steemit.com/politics/@doitvoluntarily/what-has-civil-asset-forfeiture-been-funding

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Thugs, thieves and charlatans, the whole lot of them.

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lol they’re fighting drug cartels and money laundering through stealing money from their own citizens. Corruption runs very deep in the system.

However we are never comfortable bringing in large amounts of cash when traveling long distances. May he recover his assets seized by the local government. Articles that are very interesting and contain many benefits. Thanks for sharing @doitvoluntarily.

Is it just me or does the american police resemble more to thugs than the actual thugs?

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Makes sense. The amount of money taken through civil asset forfeiture is actually larger than all burglaries combined.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/23/cops-took-more-stuff-from-people-than-burglars-did-last-year/?utm_term=.c4310b1fdae8

This is one of the "laws" that are not true law at all. It's nothing more than bullying. Plain and simple. Either I need to learn to only deal in crytpo going forward or I need to SOLEY learn to live off the gift economy and find alternate means of travel.

I know that's easier to do when you're single and don't have minor children to support.

aqui estoy dando mi apoyo a sus importantes trabajos. gracias por el aporte y apoyo que me pueda brindar, saludos

So true and so much corruption @doitvoluntarily !upped earlier now resteemed!👍👍👍