Two men traveling south on Interstate 85 southwest of Lexington Tuesday told Davidson County sheriff's deputies that the $88,000 in cash they had hidden in their car was to buy a house in Atlanta.. . . And there was no reason to believe otherwise.
Officers with the sheriff office's Interstate Criminal Enforcement unit didn't believe the story after a drug-sniffing dog found a strong odor of narcotics inside the car.. . . Of course they didn't believe it - they didn't want to believe it. And did you know that in independent tests, those drug sniffing dogs are right about half the time. Which narcotics do you think the dog "triggered on?"
No drugs were found, and the two men weren't charged with a crime, but officers did keep the money, citing a federal drug assets seizure and forfeiture law.. . . No drugs were found, but the officers get to keep the money anyway. Also, these men are going to exhaust at least 15 grand of that money to get the remainder back. You see they have to pay the State's costs for defending their improper asset seizure - that's a great system.
Deputies first stopped the car for following too closely to another vehicle, said Davidson County Sheriff David Grice.. . . That's awfully subjective by the way. Maybe we should consider giving officers less power to abuse, instead of constantly creating more laws that get arbitrarily enforced.
The two men told officers they had flown from Texas to New Jersey and were driving south to Atlanta to buy a house with the money, Grice said.. . . I see that Davidson County has perfected the system of theft. I'll bet they get $1.8 million in 2006. Also, nice system wherein the Federal government get's it's cut. I guarantee you that as illegal and abusive as this system clearly is never going to go away (did you know, it was a law created - in it's original form - to get people's goods back from Pirates?).
Federal investigators arrived and took the cash in order to make a case in federal court that the money would fall under federal forfeiture laws.
If a federal judge agrees with investigators, the Davidson County Sheriff's Office would receive 75 percent ($66,000) of the confiscated money.
"It takes about a year for the money to come back to the county," Grice said.
The money then would make its way into the sheriff's office general fund, where it could only be used for enhancement purposes, such as new equipment or additional training.
Grice said as a general rule the sheriff's office cannot count on forfeiture money, noting the money isn't a sure thing and can fluctuate from year to year.
But the Davidson County Sheriff's Office has had positive results in the past after bringing in $1.6 million in 2005 and $1.4 million in 2004.
This year Grice said officers have brought in about $400,000.Only $400,000.00 this year. I bet that's just an accounting error. You don't go $1.4 million, $1.6 million then a half-million.
"It allows us to buy equipment without using taxpayers' money," Grice said.
Replacing older vehicles, installing newer radios in patrol cars and installing a new camera system in the jail were all paid for by drug forfeiture money, Grice said.
This is where I continue to push my constitutional amendment, which would prevent law enforcement from profitting from enforcing laws. I guarantee you if that passed, asset forfeiture would disappear and we'd have much fewer laws.