Airline Informants Profile Passengers, Tip Off DEA to Seize Your Cash

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Another reminder not to travel with large sums of cash or valuables if you can possibly help it. According to a recent USA Today investigation, the DEA is using informants to identify travelers who might be carrying large amounts of cash they can seize.

DEA agents have profiled passengers on Amtrak trains and nearly every major U.S. airline, drawing on reports from a network of travel-industry informants that extends from ticket counters to back offices, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Agents assigned to airports and train stations singled out passengers for questioning or searches for reasons as seemingly benign as traveling one-way to California or having paid for a ticket in cash [emphasis mine].

And it’s not the airlines and Amtrak tipping them off to your travel plans, it could be the person checking you in or taking your payment.

Baer said agents receive information from employees at “airlines, bus terminals, car rental agencies, storage facilities, vehicle repair shops, or other businesses.” He did not explain why so many suspected couriers are released without charges.

That’s right. They don’t have to charge you with a crime or provide proof in order to take your money which may take years to get back, if ever. Through civil forfeiture, law enforcement can seize cash and property if they believe someone has been involved in criminal activity.  Suspicion alone is enough.

So if you’re moving with your life savings or on your way to buy a new vehicle like the women mentioned in the article, find some alternative to cash. And perhaps avoid flying through the cities below…


usa today graphic dea airport seizures

Read the full story here.

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