Nevada troopers took nearly $87K from a retired Marine during a traffic stop
A new lawsuit claims the Nevada Highway Patrol unconstitutionally seized nearly $87,000 from a retired Marine sergeant during a traffic stop in February through a controversial federal program known as equitable sharing.
State troopers thought the former Marine, 39-year-old Stephen Lara, fit the profile of a drug trafficker, but the troopers ultimately let Lara go. He was not cited during the traffic stop nor has he been charged with a crime.
Yet the federal government held on to his cash for more than six months, the lawsuit states, well beyond its 90-day deadline to decide whether to return the money, obtain a criminal complaint or an extension, or initiate federal civil forfeiture proceedings.
Advocates say Lara’s case illustrates a broken system riddled with loopholes.
“Police on the streets should not have the power to take someone’s money from them based on mere suspicion,” one of Lara’s attorneys, Wesley Hottot, said Wednesday.
DAWG SAYS: I UNDERSTAND WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT IS TOO MUCH MONEY TO CARRY AROUND, IT COULD BE STOLEN AND BASICALLY IT WAS.
MANY PEOPLE HAVE HAD THIS HAPPEN AND WITH NO CHARGES-ARRESTS-EVEN REPORTS WRITTEN. IT IS AN OBVIOUS DUE PROCESS VIOLATION AND NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED.
THEY MAKE PEOPLE PROVE THEY ARE INNOCENT.