Oklahoma Deputies Steal $141,500 From Men Trying To Buy Land, Manage To Make $10,000 Of It Disappear
from the a-little-due-diligence-goes-a-long-way dept
Some regular, everyday highway robbery committed by an Oklahoma law enforcement agency is getting some airtime and additional scrutiny, which certainly isn’t going to be beneficial to the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office. (via Reason)
Two businessmen from New Mexico were on their way to buy some land in Oklahoma when they were stopped by sheriff’s deputies. After asking for the driver’s license, the deputies began badgering the driver, Thai Nang, about the presumed existence of cash, hopefully lots of it.
“They keep asking like do I have cash, do we have cash, many times, many times. I say, ‘Of course we have cash,’” Nang told News 4.
He said that’s when the deputy started searching their car and found the $141,500 in cash that they were going to use for the land purchase.
“That’s our savings money to buy the agriculture land and he told me, ‘I’m 300% sure that’s illegal money,’” Nang said.
The deputies seized the cash and took Nang and his partner back to the Office for questioning. Several hours later they were released. But not their money. The $141,500 was confiscated by the Sheriff’s Office, which obviously plans to forfeit it as illegally-obtained.
On the way to the forfeiture proceedings, the Sheriff’s Office made nearly $10,000 of it disappear.
According to the court documents, only $131,502 was seized, which is $10,000 short.
The document also alleges that the money was “furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled dangerous substance,” “traceable to such an exchange” or was “intended to be used to facilitate a violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.”
Those allegations are going to be pretty difficult to prove. And even the minimal level of proof needed to successfully steal property from drivers is unlikely to be met here. Reporters from KFOR did what the Sheriff’s Office refused to do. They went out and attempted to verify Nang’s claim the money was being used to purchase property. They were successful.
A Caddo County property owner is standing behind two New Mexico businessmen who told KFOR they were attempting to purchase land with thousands of dollars that was seized from them by the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.
“Why didn’t they just send somebody out to ask me like you’re asking me? I’d have told them the same thing,” a Caddo County property owner, who wanted to keep his identity private, told News 4.
Not only did the property owner verify the story, he also provided documentation of the planned purchase, including the bill of sale. He also verified that dollar amount ($141,500) was accurate, stating that the land was being sold for $100,000 plus “$30-40,000 to upgrade the electricity and the water.”
Presumably these statements have already been converted into a notarized affidavit that Nang’s lawyer will be bringing to court. Presumably the Sheriff’s Office will be bringing nothing more than its speculative fiction about the money’s innate illegality. And while it will be satisfying to see these badge-wearing crooks get their ill-gotten gains stripped away in a court of law, I imagine it would have been much more satisfying to Nang and his partner to be in possession of the property they were purchasing and putting their time and energy into that, rather than spending money righting a wrong that never should have been perpetrated on them.