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女兒帶父親畢生積蓄8.2萬搭機 竟遭緝毒署全數沒收


女兒帶父親畢生積蓄8.2萬搭機 竟遭緝毒署全數沒收

(World Journal) 記者胡玉立

巴爾的摩機場安檢查獲的違禁物品,包括一門火箭飛射器。(Getty Images)

瑞貝卡布朗(左)帶著父親的畢生積蓄搭機,在匹茲堡機場全遭沒收。圖為兩父女坐在賓州南拉法葉家門前。(Institute for Justice)

79歲的泰瑞·羅林(Terry Rolin)和女兒芮貝卡·布朗(Rebecca Brown) 15日向賓州聯邦法院聯合控告聯邦緝毒署(DEA )、運輸安全局(TSA) 等機構及官員,原因是去年8月,羅林將畢生積蓄82373元放入保鮮盒,讓女兒帶著搭飛機、準備到波士頓去銀行開聯名戶頭,卻在匹茲堡機場毫無理由地遭DEA全數沒收。

代表布朗和羅林提控的律師奧爾本(Dan Alban)表示,「羅林家遇到的事,並非偶例。就我們所知,這種事持續在全美各地發生。一直都有旅人和我們聯繫,說他們準備購買二手車或添購業務設備的現金,在機場或車站被沒收。」

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父女告非法 緝毒署稱有權沒收


布朗重複解釋這筆錢是父親畢生積蓄,DEA官員則要求布朗讓羅林聽電話以確認她的說法,但精神衰落的羅林無法證實某些細節,DEA隨即告訴布朗:「 我們要沒收那筆現金。」






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Father and daughter sue feds over $82,000 seized at Pittsburgh International


A retired railroad worker from South Fayette and his daughter in Massachusetts have sued two federal agencies and an agent in federal court in Pittsburgh, alleging that they illegally seized his life savings of $82,373 at Pittsburgh International Airport this summer and won't give it back.

Terry Rolin, 79, and Rebecca Brown of Lowell, Mass., say in the suit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Transportation Security Administration that the money was seized even though Mr. Rolin has not been charged with any crimes.

The pair teamed up with the Institute for Justice, a Virginia nonprofit group, in filing the case and seeking class-action status for others whose money has been seized without charges being filed.

Institute of Justice lawyers said they've sued the government over similar allegations in Houston and Cleveland.

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"What happened to them [Rolin and Brown] illustrates the systematic policies or practices of TSA and DEA: seizing cash from air travelers based solely on the presence of what these agencies believe to be 'large' or 'suspicious' amounts of cash," they wrote in the suit. "These policies or practices of TSA and DEA violate the Fourth Amendment."

In August, Mr. Rolin entrusted Ms. Brown with the $82,000, which he said represents his and his parents' savings, so she could deposit it into a new joint bank account for him in Massachusetts. Mr. Rolin said his parents lived through the Depression and kept their money hidden at home instead of in banks and he did the same. But when he moved out of the family home and into an apartment he said he became uncomfortable with having so much cash on hand, so he decided to put it into an account.

He and his daughter said they planned to use the money on dental work and to get his truck repaired.

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Ms. Brown was visiting for the weekend in August to see her father and attend a family gathering and intended to fly back to Boston with the money in her purse on the morning of Aug. 26.

She said she checked online and found that carrying cash on a flight is legal. She put the purse in her carry-on bag and didn't check any luggage.

She said TSA screeners saw the cash on an X-ray and pulled the bag aside while a state trooper questioned her.

She was allowed to leave for her gate with the money, she said, but before boarding was approached again by a trooper and a DEA agent. She said they interrogated her about why she was carrying so much cash. She said she explained her father's situation, after which the agent said he wanted her to call her father so he could verify what she was saying.

She said she told the agent that her father has cognitive issues and also would not be awake so early, 7 a.m., and would likely be confused about the call. The agent insisted. When he spoke with Mr. Rolin, the retiree was groggy and confused, according to the suit.

Ms. Brown had also told the agent that she and her siblings were planning to buy her father a new truck as a surprise, but Mr. Rolin obviously didn't know anything about that so couldn't corroborate her account.

The agent then told Ms. Brown that "your answers don't match" and took the cash.

She boarded her flight without it and flew home to Boston.

Months later, according to the suit, Mr. Rolin and Ms. Brown received notice that the DEA intended to keep the money through the civil forfeiture process.

Dan Alban, an Institute of Justice lawyer, said that flying with any amount of cash is legal and that TSA and DEA are violating the law when they seize money without charging anyone.

"You don't forfeit your constitutional rights when you try to board an airplane," he said.

The Institute of Justice said that in the Houston and Cleveland cases that it contested, the government eventually returned the money seized.

Lawyers said that Mr. Rolin and Ms. Brown want the same result and for TSA and DEA to stop the practice of seizure.

In addition to the two agencies, the pair also sued the DEA agent who took the cash whose name they knew only as "Steve."

In a statement, Ms. Brown said her father and his parents had worked hard for their money and the government should not be allowed to confiscate it.

"We did nothing wrong and haven't been charged with any crime, yet the DEA is trying to take my father's life savings," she said. "His savings should be returned right away, and the government should stop taking money from Americans who are doing something completely legal."

In addition to sending the suit to TSA and DEA, the Institute of Justice sent it to Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney Scott Brady in Pittsburgh. Mr. Brady's office declined to comment.


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