There aren’t many ways to make something as objectively awful as civil asset forfeiture worse, but the FBI has found a way to do it. As it stands now, forfeiture allows law enforcement to take cash and property from people under the (unproven) theory that it was illegally obtained. The rest of the process does nothing to prove the theory. The burden of proof is often shifted to people who had their stuff taken by law enforcement and the process of seeking the return of property is so expensive and counterintuitive, most people just take the L and move on.
The FBI wants to make asset forfeiture even shittier. It’s rolling out what appears to be a pilot program in Charlotte, North Carolina – supposedly a major hub on the East Coast drug distribution chain. Behold these (also unproven) claims the FBI has deployed to justify its new forfeiture ride-along program.
The FBI Charlotte Field Office is offering cash rewards for tips that help agents intercept drug trafficking shipments through Charlotte. With multiple interstates running directly through the Queen City, the route is appealing to traffickers who deliver their products and transfer the cash proceeds up and down the East Coast. While law enforcement agencies are effective at intercepting many of the shipments, the FBI recognizes the value the public can offer to our investigations.
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