Joseph Rivers had some money. Having money is suspicious, so the DEA took it. He might get some of it back if he can prove his money committed no crimes, not that proving a negative is hard or anything.
As for whether Obama and Holder fixed all this...It happened, Rivers said, to him on April 15 as he was traveling on Amtrak from Dearborn, Mich., near his hometown of Romulus, Mich., to Los Angeles to fulfill his dream of making a music video. Rivers, in an email, said he had saved his money for years, and his mother and other relatives scraped together the rest of the $16,000.
Rivers said he carried his savings in cash because he has had problems in the past with taking out large sums of money from out-of-state banks.
A DEA agent boarded the train at the Albuquerque Amtrak station and began asking various passengers, including Rivers, where they were going and why. When Rivers replied that he was headed to LA to make a music video, the agent asked to search his bags. Rivers complied.
Rivers was the only passenger singled out for a search by DEA agents – and the only black person on his portion of the train, Pancer said.
In one of the bags, the agent found the cash, still in the Michigan bank envelope.
“I even allowed him to call my mother, a military veteran and (hospital) coordinator, to corroborate my story,” Rivers said. “Even with all of this, the officers decided to take my money because he stated that he believed that the money was involved in some type of narcotic activity.”
Rivers was left penniless, his dream deferred.
“These officers took everything that I had worked so hard to save and even money that was given to me by family that believed in me,” Rivers said in his email. “I told (the DEA agents) I had no money and no means to survive in Los Angeles if they took my money. They informed me that it was my responsibility to figure out how I was going to do that.”
A few billion here, a few billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money. Of course they didn't kill the federal cash cow, just wounded state and local ones a bit....The practice has proven to be controversial. Earlier this year, then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced measures restricting the use of some types of civil asset forfeiture. But as the Institute for Justice noted in a February report, these changes only affect a small percentage of forfeitures initiated by local law enforcement agencies, not federal ones like the DEA. About 90 percent of Justice Department seizures won't be affected at all.
Asset forfeiture is lucrative for the DEA. According to their latest notification of seized goods, updated Monday, agents have seized well over $38 million dollars' worth of cash and goods from people in the first few months of this year. Some of the goods may be directly related to ongoing criminal investigations, but most of them are not.
For instance, in fiscal year 2014 Justice Department agencies made a total of $3.9 billion in civil asset seizures, versus only $679 million in criminal asset seizures....