WINNEMUCCA, NV — After a successful run at the casinos in Las Vegas, a man carrying a large sum of cash fell victim to a thieving police officer on his way back to California. Without charging him with a crime or even giving him a speeding ticket, the cop seized 50,000 and let him go. This practice of highway robbery is perfectly legal.
Tan Nguyen was the lucky gambler who was stopped along I-80 in Humboldt County. Nguyen was stopped by Deputy Lee Dove for only going 3 miles per hour above the posted speed limit.
To establish the grounds for searching Nguyen’s vehicle, the deputy began to claim that he smelled drugs.
“I just smelled weed. I know I did. I know I smelled weed,” said Dove in the dash-cam video available from KLAS-TV.
Deputy Dove is a skilled narcotics agent that knows that accusing someone of drug trafficking is all that is required to walk away with their money and property. The policy that enables him to do this is known as civil asset forfeiture. “How much money you got?” asks the deputy.
No drugs were found in the subsequent search. But that was no problem for the deputy. He had discovered Nguyen’s money — $50,000 in cash and $10,000 in cashier’s checks.
“That’s not yours, is it?” the deputy asked.
“That’s mine,” Nguyen responded.
“Well, I’m seizing it,” the deputy declared.
Nguyen protested that the officer had no right to rob him. But Deputy Dove reminded him that government theft is legal in a police state.