Banana Republic isn’t just a store in the mall


I recall when we used to drive down periodically to Mexico, that we’d be warned to avoid the Federalies and carry a bit of extra cash to ‘gift’ them with if they stopped us.

Guess we should probably start doing that for cross country road trips in case we run into cops like this.

If someone with a gun stops you and takes your money — would you call police? What if the person who takes your money also has a badge? 

Some people in Humboldt County, tongue-in-cheek, call it “highway robbery.”

One deputy in particular is being singled out for his practice of pressuring travelers to abandon their money or face losing their cars as well. The I-Team has obtained exclusive dash-cam video from one of these drug interdiction stops. While no drugs were found, that didn’t stop the deputy from grabbing the cash.

“How much money you got?” Humboldt County Deputy Lee Dove can be heard asking on the video.

Dove can be seen dropping cash on the hood of the car. 

Deputy Dove: “That’s not yours, is it?”
Motorist: “That’s mine.”
Deputy Dove: “Well, I’m seizing it.”

The dash-cam video gives insight into what some say is a pattern of questionable drug interdiction stops by Deputy Dove along I-80 near Winnemucca in northern Nevada.

The out-of-state motorist was stopped for doing 78 mph in an 75 mph zone. Deputy Dove finds $50,000 cash and $10,000 in cashiers checks during a search of the car.

The first issue is whether Dove obtained permission to search the car or whether he simply told the driver, Tan Nguyen, he was going to do it.

Deputy Dove: “Well, I’m gonna search that vehicle first, ok?”
Nguyen: “Hey, what’s the reason you’re searching my car?”
Deputy Dove: “Because I’m talking to you … well, no, I don’t have to explain that to you. I’m not going to explain that to you, but I am gonna put my drug dog on that (pointing to money). If my dog alerts, I’m seizing the money. You can try to get it back but you’re not.”
Nguyen: (inaudible) got it in Vegas.”
Deputy Dove: “Good luck proving it. Good luck proving it. You’ll burn it up in attorney fees before we give it back to you.”

But Dove never seizes the money under state forfeiture law, instead he offers Nguyen a deal. Abandon the cash and you can leave with the cashiers checks. Otherwise, Dove will confiscate the cash anyway and tow the car because Nguyen’s name isn’t on the rental agreement.

Deputy Dove: “It’s your call. If you want to walk away, you can take the cashiers checks, the car and everything and you can bolt and you’re on your way. But you’re gonna be walking away from this money and abandoning it.

“Our sheriff and our DA have said there’s no wrongdoing here,” said Dee Holzel.

Of course there isn’t. Though, somehow I doubt you’d feel the same way if Mr. Nguyen had been accosted outside of a casino by an armed guy in a suit who asked Nguyen to leave his cash with him or else he’d be in for a load of pain.

Hard to see what the difference between that scenario and this one is.

 

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