Something is broken in D.C. when the federal government can seize the life savings of an American citizen without explanation or charge, and never return it.
The Washington Examiner reports:
A U.S. citizen for more than a decade, Rustem Kazazi was flying back to Europe to help his Albanian family repair their home and maybe even to buy a little beach house somewhere along the Adriatic Sea. He placed $58,100 into three clearly marked envelopes, then packed the money away in his carry-on luggage.
It was 13 years of his life savings – and the federal government took every penny.
TSA employees discovered the cash, and agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized it. But first they strip-searched Kazazi and interrogated the 64-year-old without a translator as he covered himself with a towel.
Kazasi still hasn’t been charged, even though his money was seized in October. The government did this, because they merely suspected him of a crime.
Kazazi still hasn’t been convicted (or charged!) of any crime, and CBP didn’t offer any explanation for a month. But thanks to a law enforcement procedure called civil asset forfeiture, CBP also hasn’t given Kazazi his savings back. The federal government finally came up with an explanation: they suspected he was “involved in a smuggling/drug trafficking/money laundering operation.”
The large sum wasn’t for anything nefarious explained Kazazi, a former Albanian police office. “The crime in Albania is much worse than it is here,” he told the Washington Post. “Other people that have made large withdrawals [from Albanian banks] have had people intercept them and take their money.” Plus, hard U.S. currency is worth more.
The government can seize his money through a process called “civil asset forfeiture.”
We’ve reported on civil asset forfeiture before, and as we said at the time, it’s the kind of practice the Founders of our country fought to abolish. It allows the federal government to steal property without due process, and it’s time we did something to end it.
An Article V Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that explicitly limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. It can significantly limit this kind of bureaucratic overreach and restore power to the states and the people.
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