Tonya Smith and her husband Dimitrios allege that several weeks ago, back in June, the couple were stopped by West Virginia state troopers and that traffic stop ended-up costing them 10,000 after it was confiscated by police.
Smith is a registered nurse who happened to be on maternity leave, she was allegedly 8 months pregnant at the time of the stop.
According to the couple, they had just decided to cash out at the casino and they were on their way to spend their winnings in Hollywood, West Virginia. The couple had allegedly carried documentation with them to demonstrate that the funds had come from legitimate casino winnings (several jackpot winnings). They describe the lengthy encounter with police as a highway robbery. According to reports, officers had thoroughly searched the vehicle, eventually brought K-9 dogs to help them search, and the couple say that they had been peppered with questions about illegal drug activity, guns, and smuggling etc.
"I was 34 weeks pregnant and standing on the side of the road for almost two hours and my husband is in handcuffs and not even arrested," - Smith describes the encounter.
No drugs were reportedly found..
Civil Asset Forfeiture
It was another scenario of civil asset forfeiture taking place, which has happened to many Americans in a variety of states that have had private property confiscated from them even though they've never been charged with any wrongdoing in relation to that confiscation.
Some of them have fought back and they've managed to get their assets back, many others haven't been as lucky.
For this couple, Smith and her partner, it's alleged that the West Virginia State Police had only become interested in returning their funds to them soon after the situation started to gain attention in the media.
Reports suggest that after a local paper started to question the incident, and a West Virginia councilman had allegedly visited their home personally to hear about what took place, that the police then opted to return the funds.
“"I felt like I was in a movie. This is not the kind of law we should be living with in our country." - said Smith of the incident.
West Virginia reportedly doesn't maintain any records on their forfeiture spending coincidentally and so it's difficult to find out how they are spending the money or how much they might be taking from the people in this way.
Not everyone who is going to be targeted under this policy, is going to have the means to fight back for justice and to stand up for what is right. It works for the benefit of the state that they don't have the means to protect themselves, because at the end of the day it's the state that profits. Over the years they've managed to confiscate billions of dollars in funds by taking cars, cash, houses, and a lot more, from innocent Americans many of whom were never charged with a crime.