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You may think your biggest threat when carrying any amount of cash over $1000 is a thief or armed robber, but you’d be wrong.
Your most immediate concern is not being robbed by a criminal, but rather, by the very people who are supposed to serve and protect the public.
As one New Jersey man found out when he was on his way to pay for a car he purchased on Ebay, a new heavy handed trend called “policing for profit” is empowering law enforcement officers to ignore fundamental Constitutional safeguards against warrant-less searches.
[Video report follows excerpts]
George Reby was driving down Interstate 40, heading west through Putnam County, when he was stopped for speeding.
A Monterey police officer wanted to know if he was carrying any large amounts of cash.
“I said, ‘Around $20,000,’” he recalled. “Then, at the point, he said, ‘Do you mind if I search your vehicle?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t mind.’ I certainly didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong. It was my money.”
That’s when Officer Larry Bates confiscated the cash based on his suspicion that it was drug money.
Bates said the amount of money and the way it was packed gave him reason to be suspicious.
“The safest place to put your money if it’s legitimate is in a bank account,” he explained. “He stated he had two. I would put it in a bank account. It draws interest and it’s safer.”
“But it’s not illegal to carry cash,” we noted.
“No, it’s not illegal to carry cash,” Bates said. “Again, it’s what the cash is being used for to facilitate or what it is being utilized for.”
NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, “But you had no proof that money was being used for drug trafficking, correct? No proof?”
“And he couldn’t prove it was legitimate,” Bates insisted.
In fact, Reby had proof on his computer. [The ebay evidence he showed the officer was not sufficient]