Joseph Rivers was a 22-year-old aspiring music video producer from outside of Detroit who managed to painstakingly save $16,000 for a music venture.
He was on an Amtrak train moving to Los Angeles to pursue his dream when his life’s savings were stolen from him.
According to the Albuquerque Journal,
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.
His $16,000 was in a bank envelope found by DEA agents. He tried to explain that he had problems withdrawing money from out-of-state banks in the past and that he was moving to Los Angeles. The feds did not believe him.
Joseph called his mother to corroborate his story. The feds didn’t believe her either.
He was charged with no crime, nothing on him was ‘suspicious’, but the DEA took his money and never gave it back.
All of the sudden Joseph Rivers’ progress in life was crushed by the state.
“We don’t have to prove that the person is guilty,” an Albuquerque DEA agent said. “It’s that the money is presumed to be guilty.”
So far this year, DEA agents have stolen over 38 million dollars in cash and goods from people assumed to be guilty.
In 2014, they collected $3.9 billion in civil asset seizures. Only $679 million of the money and assets were deemed “criminal”.
Be careful where you take your cash. You could get robbed by some people on the street, or federal agents in an unmarked vehicle. The only difference is you can’t defend yourself from a federal agent without being killed or incarcerated.