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Court OKs seizure of cash with high cocaine traces
Tribune Review ^ | Wednesday, March 08, 2006 | AP

Posted on 03/08/2006 10:00:00 AM PST by steel_resolve

HARRISBURG -- Cash with far higher-than-normal trace levels of cocaine can be seized as contraband from speeding drivers, a divided state appeals court ruled today.

The 5-2 Commonwealth Court decision concerned the seizure of $451,000 from two separate vehicle stops by state police on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 2002 and 2004.

(Excerpt) Read more at postgazette.com ...


TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS: a; cocaines; donutwatch; drug; hell; libertarians; libertines; of; scotus; wodlist
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Something smells rotten in Denmark here. Is this the state protecting citizens or another bald-faced money grab? Discuss.
1 posted on 03/08/2006 10:00:03 AM PST by steel_resolve
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To: steel_resolve

Bottom line: 1) It's money. 2) We want it. 3) It's ours.


2 posted on 03/08/2006 10:02:40 AM PST by D.P.Roberts
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To: steel_resolve

Even if the guy just cashed his paycheck at the bank, and is in a hurry to get somewhere? This is wrong.


3 posted on 03/08/2006 10:04:20 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: steel_resolve

So what's the normal level of cocaine that's acceptable on currency?


4 posted on 03/08/2006 10:05:42 AM PST by Sax
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To: steel_resolve

5 posted on 03/08/2006 10:06:02 AM PST by TexasCajun
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To: TexasCajun

yep


6 posted on 03/08/2006 10:06:49 AM PST by firewalk
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To: Sax

Almost all cash has trace elements of Cocaine.


7 posted on 03/08/2006 10:07:40 AM PST by massgopguy (massgopguy)
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To: steel_resolve; freepatriot32

IB4TBL

Ping

I think I've read before that 98% of paper money has cocaine traces on it.


8 posted on 03/08/2006 10:07:51 AM PST by SandfleaCSC ( “Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: steel_resolve

This is the thinnest veil yet I have seen for an outright theft from citizens by law enforcement - and an excellent example of how the WoD leads to the degradation of all law and respect for the law in this country.


10 posted on 03/08/2006 10:08:49 AM PST by thoughtomator (I understand Democrats' impatience; If Kerry were President, Iran would have nuked Israel by now)
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To: massgopguy

Yeah, I remember hearing that long ago - it still amazes me. So did they put out guidelines on what's trace and what's beyond trace?


11 posted on 03/08/2006 10:09:11 AM PST by Sax
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To: steel_resolve

Another good reason for "money laundering"!


12 posted on 03/08/2006 10:10:56 AM PST by Philistone (Turning lead into gold...)
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To: steel_resolve

bump


13 posted on 03/08/2006 10:11:52 AM PST by VOA
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To: Individual Rights in NJ
Traces of cocaine on cash is VERY common. Rolling up the bill and snorting the cocaine leaves the trace.


14 posted on 03/08/2006 10:14:41 AM PST by unixfox (AMERICA - 20 Million ILLEGALS Can't Be Wrong!)
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To: steel_resolve

Without other evidence I'd have to go with "Give it back".

Most times I have less than $20 on me but a few times I had over $10K. It's mine and I worked hard for it. If the law wants it, prove it in court.


15 posted on 03/08/2006 10:16:15 AM PST by PeteB570 (Guns, what real men want for Christmas)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: steel_resolve
Cash with far higher-than-normal trace levels of cocaine can be seized as contraband from speeding drivers, a divided state appeals court ruled today.

Pretty amazing stuff. Just the fact that money has a trace amount of cocaine on it means that some will have more and some will have less. All it would take would be to have a few bills with extra cocaine on it - or, even worse, a crooked cop sprinkling a bit of cocaine on seized cash - and the money goes to the police.

Yet another hole blasted into basic constitutional protections.

17 posted on 03/08/2006 10:16:43 AM PST by dirtboy (I'm fat, I sleep most of the winter and I saw my shadow yesterday. Does that make me a groundhog?)
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To: Individual Rights in NJ
I didn't think carrying just money in general is a crime.

It's not - but they can seize it anyway.

18 posted on 03/08/2006 10:17:24 AM PST by dirtboy (I'm fat, I sleep most of the winter and I saw my shadow yesterday. Does that make me a groundhog?)
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To: steel_resolve

Nobody owns their money. The government just lets us carry some around until they want it back.


19 posted on 03/08/2006 10:18:57 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: unixfox; PaxMacian; WindMinstrel; philman_36; headsonpikes; cryptical; vikzilla; Quick1; gdani; ...

There have been several studies on the phenomenon. The cocaine is mainly spread by cash counting machines, as well as ATMs. The machines get contaminated, then spread the cocaine to every bill that goes through it after that.

In one 1985 study done by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the money machines in a U.S. Federal Reserve district bank, random samples of $50 and $100 bills revealed that a third to a half of all the currency tested bore traces of cocaine. Moreover, the machines themselves were often found to test positive, meaning that subsequent batches of cash fed through them would also pick up cocaine residue. Expert evidence given before a federal appeals court in 1995 showed that three out of four bills randomly examined in the Los Angeles area bore traces of the drug. In a 1997 study conducted at the Argonne National Laboratory, nearly four out of five one-dollar bills in Chicago suburbs were found to bear discernable traces of cocaine. In another study, more than 135 bills from seven U.S. cities were tested, and all but four were contaminated with traces of cocaine. These bills had been collected from restaurants, stores, and banks in cities from Milwaukee to Dallas.


20 posted on 03/08/2006 10:20:53 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: steel_resolve

This needs to be appealed all the way up. These drug warrior psychos must be stopped.


21 posted on 03/08/2006 10:20:58 AM PST by mysterio
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To: Individual Rights in NJ
I can be arrested for cocaine posession and he can just take my 20 dollars? That doesn't sound right.

It's not right, but that doesn't stop the drug warriors. They could care less because they get to keep the money and do whatever they want with it. Like purchase shiny new vehicles.

So now we have land confiscation, AND cash confiscation just because they can.

These socialists better start looking over their shoulders, they will soon rue the day they broke the camels back.

Is this a great country or what, I mean what's left of it.


22 posted on 03/08/2006 10:21:07 AM PST by unixfox (AMERICA - 20 Million ILLEGALS Can't Be Wrong!)
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To: SandfleaCSC

"I think I've read before that 98% of paper money has cocaine traces on it."

When you think about it, is that really possible? 98% of paper currency has either been rolled up and used as a straw for snorting coke, or handled by people whose hands had coke on them? Seems unlikely, really. More likely that whatever test they use to indicate the prescence of coke is producing false positives on some other substance.


23 posted on 03/08/2006 10:25:15 AM PST by -YYZ-
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To: SandfleaCSC
IB4TBL

Love it!

24 posted on 03/08/2006 10:25:18 AM PST by beltfed308 (Cloth or link. Happiness is a perfect trunnion.)
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To: -YYZ-

See #14.


25 posted on 03/08/2006 10:26:04 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: -YYZ-

Oops, make that #20.


26 posted on 03/08/2006 10:26:55 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: steel_resolve

This is not even rational. People USING cocaine MAY use the pills to ingest it, but the people BUYING and SELLING the cocaine in high dollar transactions as described here, even if they are users, are probably NOT using THAT PARTICULAR money to snort it. Think about it, they are probably raising or borrowing that money via organized crime and holding it briefly, so why would one even expect it to be contaminated any more than any other money? Makes no sense at all...


27 posted on 03/08/2006 10:27:59 AM PST by LambSlave (The truth will set you free)
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To: Wolfie

I stand corrected.

This is still a ridiculous decision, though.


28 posted on 03/08/2006 10:28:45 AM PST by -YYZ-
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To: unixfox

As a 30 cop I have seen the focus shift from catching dopers with drugs to snatching money and property. To prove a drug case you need evidence that proves the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. To snatch the money/property one only needs to show a preponderance of guilt. Simply being caught with a large sum of cash makes you guilty. The IRS tactic of grab the money, and argue later is now common in law enforcement. The property owner has to prove his innocence. This is just wrong.


29 posted on 03/08/2006 10:29:15 AM PST by Scotsman will be Free
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To: LambSlave

...sorry meant bills, not pills...


30 posted on 03/08/2006 10:29:20 AM PST by LambSlave (The truth will set you free)
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: unixfox; All

"AND cash confiscation just because they can."

Not just because they can but moreover because they plan
to make all money digital so that it is impossible to keep
transactions secret from the government. There can be no
black market once this transition is complete. The black
market would have to go to a gold standard or some hard
currency to survive. Surely it will survive as it is highly
adaptive but our liberties will be diminished. Carry large
amounts of cash and they can find you remotely with the
new money and they will take it. Bling Bling is the future
black market currency and not just a fashion statement.


32 posted on 03/08/2006 10:30:45 AM PST by PaxMacian
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To: Individual Rights in NJ
So if I get a 20 from a store, and I get pulled over, and he find the money in my wallet for some weird reason, I can be arrested for cocaine posession and he can just take my 20 dollars? That doesn't sound right.

They don't have to arrest you. They can just take the money.

33 posted on 03/08/2006 10:33:04 AM PST by Heyworth
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To: robertpaulsen; Mojave

I would hope that even you guys would be on the side of us loserdopians on this one.


34 posted on 03/08/2006 10:33:19 AM PST by jmc813 (Sanford/Pence in '08)
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: -YYZ-

No it's coke and it's the main reason I lick every bill I come across.


36 posted on 03/08/2006 10:33:40 AM PST by CJ Wolf
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To: SandfleaCSC
I think I've read before that 98% of paper money has cocaine traces on it.

You're right. It seems that the money-counting machines spread the cocaine around all the bills.

One of the studies that has proved most damaging to prosecutors was done by Sanford A. Angelos, a forensic chemist with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's North Central Laboratory in Chicago. The study concluded that a third of the samples taken from several Chicago banks and from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago had traces of cocaine. The test results were reported in an undated internal DEA memo and first surfaced publicly in a trial in Los Angeles three years ago.

More important, Mr. Angelos said in the memo, the belts of the bill sorter at the reserve bank continued to spread the contamination to more and more cash. Mr. Angelos recommended, among other things, that "trace analysis or seizure be stopped." [...]

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati also raised questions about the use of cocaine-tainted cash as evidence in a decision in January involving the seizure of $53,082. The court cited, among other studies, a test conducted four years ago by Lee Hearn, chief toxicologist for the Dade County medical examiner's office in Miami. In a study of currency from banks in cities around the country, Mr. Hearn concluded that 97% of the bills tested positive for cocaine.

37 posted on 03/08/2006 10:35:47 AM PST by george wythe
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To: jmc813

That's why I never carry more than $200,000, in cash, in a shoebox, in the trunk of my car.


38 posted on 03/08/2006 10:40:53 AM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: steel_resolve

A good report of the arrest circumstances: http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20020519cash5.asp

What an idiot (but it doesn't seem to me they have cause to keep the money).


39 posted on 03/08/2006 10:41:52 AM PST by mrsmith
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To: stuartcr
"Even if the guy just cashed his paycheck at the bank, and is in a hurry to get somewhere?"

Oh please. This was a little more than that, wouldn't you agree?

According to the article, it was seized because of "the amount of money, the way it was bundled, the level of drugs on the bills and the stories the vehicle occupants told."

40 posted on 03/08/2006 10:44:24 AM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: Scotsman will be Free
"The property owner has to prove his innocence."

Not under federal law.

41 posted on 03/08/2006 10:47:41 AM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: robertpaulsen

But when the precedent is set, that suspect money can be confiscated for this purpose and in this manner, then eventually, the amount probably won't matter.


42 posted on 03/08/2006 10:56:55 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: Individual Rights in NJ
This has been going on for a long long time. Started under Reagan, in it's original form the idea was to seize the drug runners speed boats, airplanes etc. There high tech expensive means of delivery. This was very popular with law enforcement and provided lot's of fun stuff and money, Next LE when after cars and homes, and now cash.

The idea is that property can be guilty of a crime even if the property owner isn't. If LE takes your property you must then prove the property innocent, and not in open court but to some appointed government jerk that wants to keep your stuff. Needless to say ever few ever get there stuff back.

It is out right thief and blatantly unconstitutional but since the government has most of the guns and is not afraid to use them nothing will be done. The war on drugs is in fact a war on the American people and their Constitution.

43 posted on 03/08/2006 10:57:35 AM PST by jpsb
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To: steel_resolve
Reminds me of a test done many years ago, involving cocaine cash and drug sniffing dogs. While the cameras running, an officer hides cash in the vehicle, another officer comes around with the dog. Dog picks up on hidden money, the other officer takes the money and holds it out for the camera. at the same time the dog goes over to the first officer, and tries to get into this pocket. That officer removes a small wad of bills, that tested positive for cocaine residue.
44 posted on 03/08/2006 10:57:57 AM PST by Graycliff (Long haired freaky people, need not apply.)
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To: jmc813
I would hope that even you guys would be on the side of us loserdopians on this one.

I just knew you would be wrong. 

45 posted on 03/08/2006 11:11:31 AM PST by zeugma (Anybody who says XP is more secure than OS X or Linux has been licking toads.)
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To: Individual Rights in NJ

http://www.prisonplanet.com/022904rfidtagsexplode.html


46 posted on 03/08/2006 11:12:21 AM PST by PaxMacian
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To: -YYZ-
98% of paper currency has either been rolled up and used as a straw for snorting coke, or handled by people whose hands had coke on them?

Or been right next to another bill with such a history. Duh.

47 posted on 03/08/2006 11:15:09 AM PST by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: dead
Nobody owns their money. The government just lets us carry some around until they want it back.

Aint dat the truth...after all whose name is on it?...

48 posted on 03/08/2006 11:21:41 AM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit our sister..but we knew just what to do...we gathered rocks and squashed her!)
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To: steel_resolve
From the article:

"Cash with far higher-than-normal trace levels of cocaine can be seized ...."

Okay; fair is fair -- I propose the first people whose money should be tested for cocaine residue should be the legislators who voted for this law.

49 posted on 03/08/2006 11:27:15 AM PST by longshadow (FReeper #405, entering his ninth year of ignoring nitwits, nutcases, and recycled newbies)
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To: -YYZ-
When you think about it, is that really possible? 98% of paper currency has either been rolled up and used as a straw for snorting coke, or handled by people whose hands had coke on them? Seems unlikely, really. More likely that whatever test they use to indicate the prescence of coke is producing false positives on some other substance.

It's spread by cash-counting machines and ATMs.

50 posted on 03/08/2006 11:29:22 AM PST by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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