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Police Seize $63,530 From Veteran Because He Kept It In Grocery Bags

Image source: Baltimore Sun

Image source: Baltimore Sun

Simply carrying a large amount of cash in a grocery sack in your car is now sufficient grounds for a police officer to seize your money, a US circuit court has ruled. A panel of the Eighth US Circuit Court of Appeals found that all a deputy has to do to seize cash from a person is say it is drug money.

The court refused to return the $63,530 that Deputy Dave Wintle seized from a disabled veteran named Mark A. Brewer during a traffic stop in 2011. Brewer was never charged with a crime or even given a traffic ticket. Yet the decorated Air Force veteran lost his savings when a drug-sniffing dog smelled marijuana on it, even though no cannabis was found in Brewer’s car or his home.

Brewer saved the money from disability payments and his Air Force pay — as documents deputies found in the car indicated. He said he was traveling to Los Angeles to visit his uncle and to use the money as a down payment for a house. He added he was hoping his uncle could help him get a job there.

“The record here does not make clear whether the seized currency constitutes property used to facilitate a drug offense or proceeds from a drug offense,” Judge Bobby E. Shepherd wrote in a March 23 opinion upholding the seizure. “For the purposes of analysis, however, we will assume that the currency facilitated a drug offense and is thus subject to [to be seized].”

It was taken through a legal mechanism called civil forfeiture. (Listen to Off The Grid Radio’s report on civil forfeiture here.)

How To Hide Your Guns, And Other Off-Grid Caches…

Brewer’s ordeal began when he was driving through Douglas County, Nebraska, outside of Omaha on Interstate 680 in November 2011. Wintle, a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy, pulled him over for not signaling when he made a lane change, and then Wintle asked for permission to search the vehicle.

Keeping Cash in a Grocery Bag Can Lead to Seizure

Wintle had just run a background check on Brewer and found he had “no major violations” on his record when he had the dog search the car. The search was apparently prompted by Wintle’s discovery of $1,000 in cash in Brewer’s pocket. He then found the other money in grocery sacks in a backpack.

Wintle claimed that copies of articles in the car about making hash and weed oil constituted evidence that Brewer was a drug dealer.

“The government provided sufficient circumstantial evidence to support the finding of a substantial connection between the currency and drug activity,” Shepherd wrote.

Among the circumstantial evidence was:

  • The money was kept in plastic grocery bags in a backpack in Brewer’s trunk.
  • The money was bundled into batches of $1,000 that were kept together by rubber bands.
  • Brewer initially told Wintle that he did not have enough money to pay for a motel room and that he was sleeping at rest stops.
  • Wintle claimed he smelled marijuana on the backpack.
  • The articles.

The federal government initiated seizure against Brewer, who appealed. During a civil trial U.S. Magistrate F.A. Gossett upheld Wintle’s action. Brewer appealed that ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court. Shepherd was part of a three-judge panel that upheld Gossett’s decision.

Brewer served in the Air Force as a weapons specialist and military policeman. He was given a medical discharge after a deployment in Afghanistan in 2008, Nick Sibilla of the Institute for Justice stated in a Forbes op-ed piece. Brewer says he has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Even more tragic: The ruling will have a wide impact.

“This court case will be the ‘law of the circuit’ for Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and North and South Dakota as well, creating even more barriers for Americans to fight back against unjust seizures in court,” Sibilla wrote.

New Mexico Eliminates Seizure

Meanwhile, New Mexico has become the second state to effectively eliminate the use of civil forfeiture and seizure by law enforcement. The state legislature passed and Governor Susana Martinez signed House Bill 560, which is designed to curb the practice. It still will allow the criminal forfeiture of property, although that legal barrier is much higher for the government.

A well-known critic of seizure hailed the bill as a victory for property rights.

“This is the first time in decades that a state legislature has taken the bold but necessary step to put an end to the perverse financial incentive in civil forfeiture laws,” Scott Bullock, the attorney in charge of the Institute for Justice’s battle against the practice, stated in a press release. “Thankfully, Governor Martinez and the New Mexico legislature recognized that no one should lose their property without being first convicted of a crime.”

Do you believe the veteran should have received his money back? Share your opinion in the section below:

7 Unexpected Ways The Government Is Tracking Your Every Move. Read More.

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124 comments

  1. Between the government taking your possessions via eminent domain and civil forfeiture, I guess they feel like the can bully just about any citizen out of anything that catches their eye.

    Kudos to the NM legislature and governor.

    • The polic should not be able to take his money he was not charged with anything. He is a veteran just driving across country. There are many people when do not trust banks. I think the police should go to a bank I’m sure their sniffing dogs will find that money there will have drugs on the money, who’s money will they seize then.

  2. This is completely unjustified. There is no law or rule that says you cannot keep your money out of the banks (which are thieves) and keep it in a bag. I want to less and less keep my money in the bank. The news keeps talking about financial crash here soon and they want you to keep the money in a bank so you lose it all. They have NO RIGHT to take his money. Give it back!

    • I wonder if they would have left it alone if he had all that cash in a small safe in his car! If circumstantial evidence is proof of guilt, then the Feds should confiscate the Clinton’s monies due to the amount of circumstantial evidence of their wrong doing! ;)

    • Why would they give it back? Now some of the money will go missing, and then they’ll have a BIG Police family BBQ.
      All Govn’t is the same. Canadian and the US.

      • They don’t have to “misplace” any of it. It’s their money now and can spend it how they please. Most states police forces that are allowed civil forfeiture figure include that money as part of their budget. They have forfeiture quotas as incentives to meet their budget needs and heavily rely on this money for the budget.

    • jeremy elstein

      this is incorrect. there are laws that limit the amount of cash you can carry, how much you can transport, and how much you can carry across state lines.

      • There Is no such law.

        • Yeah, there is s law that when flying. You can only take less than $10,000.. This is because of 9/11 and the Patriot Act. the ill

          • You are misunderstanding that law. It is ONLY used in international travel. You can only transport $10,000.00 worth of cash, traveler’s checks, or other monetary instruments across the US border **tax free.** After that threshold, you will be taxed on every dollar in excess of $10K that you are transporting. Of course your background will be looked into if you have that much cash, but it is by no means illegal.

          • Totally incorrect. One can > $10000 legally and internationally and with no tax. I’ve done it travelling for business. You simply must declare it to Customs. If not declared, and caught, then one is subject to fines or forfeiture.
            Simply having a large amount doesn’t allow the gov’t to help themselves to some or all of it. If one is not crossing an international border, there is no requirement for declaration.

    • This was a law that was put into effect by President Reagan. They CAN take your cash. It really sucks, but they can do it.

  3. The police continue to perform acts of outright cold blooded armed robbery ruining the lives of innocent people. The so called war on drugs is a war on the people. This incident is a prime example. There was no direct evidence of wrong doing.

    It only seems ethical that if the citizen is not being arrested because there is no actual crime then there should be no seizure of the money. Why don’t the police also seize his vehicle leaving him broke and on foot!

  4. We have no other options than to leave the US…. stop paying taxes and giving them our labor. freehousingproject.com

  5. Governments around the world are increasingly becoming thieves and dens of robbers and highwaymen. These people who call themselves law enforcers – some are very good and do the proper thing, others use their position for pure thievery. I don’t blame the cops though, I blame the politicians and lawyers behind the legislation. It was clearly improperly written, definitions were fudged and provisions were insufficient. It is terrible that this sort of thing should happen in the US, the last bastion of freedom and democracy. Well, as they say, all good things come to an end. In the end, I suppose the fault lies with the American voter.

  6. At any given time ALL MONEY SMELLS LIKE WEED or Cocaine! I was reading all the stuff they find on money when they analysis it. His lawyer dropped the ball and this is absolutely insane! Fascism is what we got folks and its getting worst.

    • actually the officer and his management need to be in jail for theft, and the judges who let it slid also, are jsut as guilty, and need a vacation to think about it for a long time say 10 years or so…….maybe they ould figure ot that ty work for us and are not allow to steal from us, ever

  7. The Sheriff Deputy had to make a human decision to do something and then confiscating the money was an act of thievery. That is a criminal act in the end result. ALSO, this Sheriff’s Deputy impersonated an official that he was not licensed for in the first place. That deputy inserted a name into the written law that was not there in the first place thus allowing the deputy to impersonate a Lawmaker and then change the law at his own discretion. The deputy is not the elected lawmaker and has NO authority to change the law from the exact wording proscribed and the same applies to Lawyers, attorneys and Judges. When a Judge does this, that Judge is legislating from the bench without proper authority to do so. Nowhere in the duty description of any of these Court Officers (and a Deputy is a Court Officer) does it give any authority for tthose officers to override or supercede any written law on the books as was signed ultimately by the Governor of that State. When a deputy impersonates an official of which he is not licensed to be that constitutes Criminal Fraud ——- A Felony and is prosecutable as such.

  8. No one seems to remember that even the government admits that the vast majority of cash in this country has traces of drugs on it. (Last I read was 80%)
    That doesn’t seem to matter to the crooks that run our “government’.
    I’m afraid that one of these days they will pick on the wrong person, and there will be hell to pay for those involved in the theft.

  9. if he was not found guilty of a crime, they need to give back his money!!!

  10. Hey JOHN hear you loud and clear and I am right with the days coming soon

  11. This is one reason some of us leave other countries, and also dont visit saidd countries.
    So I gues we are now just as bad off as th other countries. We are no better than any other country now.
    We are no longer the best country in the world. Freedom is gone. All we ever fought for is gone.
    Freedom no longer rings in the ears of our enemies

  12. yes, he should get his money back. stopping hm for a warning is fine, but to take his life savings is nothing more than theft. i am proactive when it comes to LEO’s, but when i read stories such as this, it really makes me wonder what the split was on his money. basically you stopped a man from realizing his dream and that was ok with you. how sad.

  13. “Yet the decorated Air Force veteran lost his savings when a drug-sniffing dog smelled marijuana on it, even though no cannabis was found in Brewer’s car or his home.”

    CORRUPT Dog handlers can have their dogs signal a find though nothing is there. This was just THEFT by corrupt LE’s that broke their Oath and need to be PROSECUTED to the highest extent of OUR laws – not “color of laws that have been being used AGAINST the people. It will also qualify as *Terrorism since the officer was armed.

    “This court case will be the ‘law of the circuit’ for Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and North and South Dakota as well, creating even more barriers for Americans to fight back against unjust seizures in court,” Sibilla wrote.”

    No, we just need to start enforcing our US Constitution. If a judge does not use “Good Behaviour” while in office we must use a Grand Jury Investigation, then a trial to remove that judge. It is not only our Right, it is our Supreme LAW.

    Judges ONLY are ALLOWED to keep their position for life IF they use “Good Behaviour” while in office.

    US Constitution, Article III, Section 1: “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

    James Madison, Federalist 39, 250 – 53: “According to the provisions of most of the constitutions, again, as well as according to the most respectable and received opinions on the subject, the members of the judiciary department are to retain their offices by the firm tenure of good behaviour.”

    Justice Antonin Scalia:

    “The grand jury is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but not in the body of the Constitution. It has not been textually assigned, therefore, to any of the branches described in the first three Articles. It is a constitutional fixture in its own right. In fact the whole theory of its function is that it belongs to no branch of the institutional government, serving as a kind of buffer or referee between the Government and the people”.

    “Thus, citizens have the unbridled right to empanel their own grand juries and present “True Bills” of indictment to a court, which is then required to commence a criminal proceeding. Our Founding Fathers presciently thereby created a “buffer” the people may rely upon for justice, when public officials, including judges, criminally violate the law.” (Misbehavior, “Good Behaviour” requirement)

    “The grand jury is an institution separate from the courts, over whose functioning the courts do not preside, we think it clear that, as a general matter at least, no such “supervisory” judicial authority exists. The “common law” of the Fifth Amendment demands a traditional functioning grand jury.”

    “Although the grand jury normally operates, of course, in the courthouse and under judicial auspices, its institutional relationship with the judicial branch has traditionally been, so to speak, at arm’s length. Judges’ direct involvement in the functioning of the grand jury has generally been confined to the constitutive one of calling the grand jurors together and administering their oaths of office. The grand jury’s functional independence from the judicial branch is evident both in the scope of its power to investigate criminal wrongdoing, and in the manner in which that power is exercised.”

    “The grand jury ‘can investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even because it wants assurance that it is not.’ It need not identify the offender it suspects, or even “the precise nature of the offense” it is investigating. The grand jury requires no authorization from its constituting court to initiate an investigation, nor does the prosecutor require leave of court to seek a grand jury indictment. And in its day-to-day functioning, the grand jury generally operates without the interference of a presiding judge. It swears in its own witnesses and deliberates in total secrecy.”

    “Recognizing this tradition of independence, we have said the 5th Amendment’s constitutional guarantee presupposes an investigative body ‘acting independently of either prosecuting attorney or judge”

    “Given the grand jury’s operational separateness from its constituting court, it should come as no surprise that we have been reluctant to invoke the judicial supervisory power as a basis for prescribing modes of grand jury procedure. Over the years, we have received many requests to exercise supervision over the grand jury’s evidence-taking process, but we have refused them all. “it would run counter to the whole history of the grand jury institution” to permit an indictment to be challenged “on the ground that there was incompetent or inadequate evidence before the grand jury.” Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority said In the Supreme Court case of United States v. Williams, 112 S.Ct. 1735, 504 U.S. 36, 118 L.Ed.2d 352 1992 (It would also be unlawful since this is a tool of the people, not a tool for those who serve within our governments to use.)

    The Preamble to the US Constitution says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    This means that the people themselves are the last word on all of those who serve within the branches of our governments, though that “last word” must also be “in Pursuance thereof” the US Constitution.

    • Judge Bobby E. Shepherd is a very bad Judge. He ruled the Police stealing of $63,000 was an acceptable practice despite substantial evidence that the money was from disability and back pay. Judge Shepherd allows the Fascist Police STATE to continue its evil practices. Do not support his continued presence on the court.

    • What kind of theft? Certainly not a theft that would benefit the police officers any as obviously they wouldn’t be able to touch any of that cash.

      • If you even care about the truth, you should do some research. Police departments absolutely spend that stolen cash. Go on YouTube & search John Oliver civil forfeiture. It’s a disgusting abuse of a law.

        • The United States vs. $8,850 of US currency.

          United States of America vs. An article consisting of 50,000 cardboard boxes more or less, each containing one pair of clacker balls.

          The United States vs. 64,695 pounds of shark fins.

      • The departments have had the right to take the money and have used it to pay for overtime and such. That means the action is illegal and a theft. Senator Rand Paul has co-sponsored a bill that will eliminate this junk! The law was meant to damage big drug dealers. But, now, we read, all too often, about the cops taking innocent people’s money! That is stealing! Plain and simple!

  14. Unless proven that the money in possession was illegally acquired, then it should be confiscated. . but oh but, if it was from blood and sweat of the owner who worked for it legally, like the concerned veteran , no law had ever been made for the authorities to confiscate such.

  15. Is there a way we can donate $$ to Mark A. Brewer ? This government theft really needs to stop !

  16. Not only should he have his money back but should charge them the interest rate on a bank loan! Along with a charge for the mental anguish that out hero/ veteran went thru! He should take them to court for failure of do process!! They had no right to hold any property with out charge of a crime! They just wanted the money for there own bank account! Its time the American people wake up and stand up to tyranny!!

  17. Give him his money back this is bullshit and you wonder why people are shooting cops now you cops
    are out of control

  18. Every man and woman serving in the Armed Forces should stage a shut-down until this service hero is given all of his money. Then the police and judge should be reprimanded.

  19. It even says the detectives found documentation in the car proving he legally obtained the money from his military benefits. This is completely crazy and a major human rights violation.

  20. This happened in 2011, what is the current status?

  21. It was also in 2011 or 2012 that the IRS seized my fathers entire life savings out of his bank account (~$8,000) even though he was RETIRED and doing volunteer work and it was all because he maintained his professional license as a Doctor of Optometry. For that reason alone, you’re suspect if you keep a professional license up to date even at age 92. He was 91 at the time and they took it just before Thanksgiving holidays. He’s only living on Social Security and now he’s 95 — no justice for someone doing VOLUNTEER work!!!! GRRRR

  22. It is so crazy & sad that a fellow Veteran has to go through this.
    That legal system needs to be shot with shit. This is just my 2 cents.

  23. Living in Mendocino County California, this bothers me extremely. A huge industry in our county is the not so underground Marijuana industry. Any bank, grocery, or local retail store I get cash from, is highly likely to smell like weed. If i was a grower, or user I would expect this risk. Though I am not likely to carry such a large amount of cash, there are times when I carry over a thousand dollars. Good to know that thispresicidence has been set. Guess it I s more beneficial for the government if you use plastic.

  24. Guilty until proven innocent? Really? Who exactly is the thug here?

  25. This is so wrong on so many levels!

  26. Pass on this article link to other News Medias to help this Honorable Veteran get his money back.

  27. What is this country coming to ?? Look what just happened to another Veteran saving the USA flag, I am sorry for the good police officers, but it is just getting out of hand. Where is the compassion ?? I do not care about how you want to twist the law around but are guys have gone thru hell to come home to this ??? Get the Governor to make an apology and return the money with a gift from the state of a new home to this man. Please send the office to the Middle East.

  28. It’s a disgrace that this is allowed in this country. The police don’t have the stones to do this to real drug dealers and gang bangers so they bully the rest of the citizens. This man earned this money and should have it returned to him. Unlawful search and seizure still applies.

  29. The War On Drugs = Gateway Tyranny

  30. They will put this money in their pockets.Where else would it go. Who else will get it. The cops and the lawyer and the judge!!

  31. This is why Police Officers are being shot dead. As much as I support Police Officers in general, I find it difficult to blame the shooters for considering the average officer to be Gestapo-like and fully worthy of extermination. Their arguments carry some validity, if only isolated examples.

  32. So now you can’t take money that comes from Colorado for it might smell like weed.

  33. Please read in the Bible, Ezekiel chapter 7 in verse 2 instead of Israel
    put United States of America, in verse 19 see what happens to the silver
    and gold, verse 24 see what kind of heathen coming in our country. It is
    because of our sins, every sin that we are blessing as a nation in the
    Old Testament that God tells us not to do we are doing them, Obama is
    just the pawn that God is allowing to be used to judge us of our sins.
    All we have to do as individuals is to repent be washed in the Blood of
    Jesus Christ and be Born Again from God the Father above and live for
    Jesus. Remember history repeats its self if we don’t repent, Jesus is
    soon to return.

    Rev. James Ozbun

  34. That is not even the right image of the Police Seize of the $63,530 from the Veteran. Where are the paper bags & he had no plastic bags of coke like that is in the image He was not charged with anything. This is a Fake image about him. See how they try to cover this for themselves.

  35. We, All The People should be Out-Raged over this, just for the image of Police Deception. This is so wrong.

  36. Call for a Grand Jury up on all evolved now!

  37. Call up a Grand Jury on all evolved now!

  38. Why is it no one has said how incredibly STUPID this Vet is? No one in his right might would be carrying that kind of cash. Only stupid people or drug dealers would do this. Either way he got what he deserved.

    • Dennis dick-ass must not be a Vet.

    • He proved where the money came from. He was going to buy a house; he is a Disabled War Veteran with no criminal drug charges traveling to California to his uncle’s house. Read the article stupid Non-Veteran.

  39. It wasn’t terribly smart of Mr. Brewer to have all this cash stashed in this manner, but there is now way in hell that a veteran – or anyone – should be ripped off in this manner. Savings accounts and CDs pay zilch, so there’s no point in trusting the banks with one’s savings. Also, the fact that a plant that was grown by our Founding Fathers is now illegal is the absolute height of absurdity and evil.
    Mr. Brewer’s money should be returned to him immediately with an apology and compensation for the inconvenience, aggravation, and stress.
    I am fed up with our tax dollars paying the salaries of sadistic, bullying, Nazi-like thugs – which is what too many cops today happen to be.

  40. This is an other case of the Government trampling on our freedom and liberty. The courts approved this? So what? The courts are part of the government. America, from Washington DC down to local municipalities is turning towards becoming a police state. There was not hint let alone evidence of any criminal activity. If one took a bunch of large US currency bills straight from any bank one would find that most of them would have cocaine, pot, and other drug residue. This was an unlawful seizure of private property. All that are aware of this must do all they can to stop this. Next time you cash your check a cop just might take it from you.

  41. No one knows that he was ripped off. It has not been proven that it wasn’t drug money. Everyone here is assuming he is innocent and no one knows that is a fact. Just because he is old and a Vet doesn’t mean he is innocent. As far as not putting money like that somewhere that is not getting at least enough interest to keep up with inflation is stupid. There are lot of places to put it where you at least beat inflation; otherwise you are guaranteeing that the money is losing value to inflation. Any investment planner knows that it is always stupid to keep money in a mattress. What if he is a drug dealer? Should he be allowed to use drug money to pay for an attorney? It most states he can not. What if this was a gang member, should he get his money back?

    • The point here is that the veteran’s rights were infringed upon, when he was pulled over for a mere traffic violation & after the routine of showing his driver’s license, insurance, registration..etc., etc., was completed. And the officer had ran a check on his license, & everything came back clear- the officer should have at the very most written the man a citation for improper lane change/changing lanes without signaling. The officer had no right to search the vehicle’s trunk for ANYTHING. As there was no evidence of the law being broken & the man did NOT have a warrant for his arrest nor a history of criminal activity that would have justified him in doing so. The man was Not arrested or charged with any offense – Criminal or Drug related. They found NO DRUGS & he had written proof of how he had obtained the money. The system totally screwed him out of his money simply because they could. Which is a criminal act in itself !!
      And by the way Dennis:
      1. It is not against the law to “NOT keep your money in a bank”
      2. As a citizen of the United States of America , we have certain rights..
      particularily >> The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.
      3. Our Constitutional Rights also state >> WE are innocent until proven Guilty..
      4. Nowhere in our Constitutional Rights does it say that our property & possessions can be seized or confiscated & kept from us without “Proof of Illegal Activity”.
      and the “BURDEN OF PROOF” does not lie with the accused !!!

      Those were 4 facts that I posted..Dennis.. Now..the following is Only my opinion..
      1. If Ignorance were a crime punishable by imprisonment..YOU would never see the day of light again !!
      You are an idiot !!
      You make judgement on a man who has Served Our Country, put His LIFE on the line for our FREEDOM. payed his Dues & ours..too. Because, you don’t like his Financial Banking Plan !! Because his hard earned money was not making interests in some Federally Funded Banking Institution ?? You are a disgrace..you opinionate yourself against the Integrity of an American Soldier- a Veteran of OUR WAR, without even knowing the facts, just to hear your bull-shit self talk. You probably do not even know the meaning of the word “integrity”..grab a dictionary & learn your facts..before you speak of something you know nothing about.

  42. Kristopher Ryan Oxenreider

    Take out the cop and judges and then others think twice b4 pulling this b.s. again

  43. “For the purposes of analysis, however, we will assume that the currency facilitated a drug offense and is thus subject to [to be seized].”

    You are innocent until PROVEN guilty. You cannot “assume”. This is judicial misconduct.

  44. Not in the case of large amounts of cash are you presumed innocent. In 48 states you can’t use that money for your attorney. It not judicial misconduct when this is the law. You can’t use drug money to defend yourself.

  45. There is no excuse for taking this mabs life savibgs and not returning it. That should be considered theft

  46. Murder, armed robbery (“civil forfeiture”), and terrorism are totally awesome, cool, and “legal” as long as you wear the right costume.

  47. most Americans are in deep denial. they like to think that there is still legitimacy and correctness to what the government does. what happened to this veteran is no different than if the Mafia walked up to you and pointed a gun at you and told you to give them your money. the fact that there was a court hearing consider the matter makes it no less criminal.

  48. My daddy served in Vietnam. He doesn’t mind banks as much now because war and life has taken a toll on him and given him very little choice on being exact on his own books. As most veterins did, he made his living driving trucks and heavy equipment to further provide for our country. He’s been very smart with his finances and has lived on such a low budget alone that it would shock you. These men were trained to live within means of hell. It didn’t bother my dad living in a pop up camper with no ac. Thank goodness for a good woman in his life though! It’s crap if the VA cuts vital meds if my daddy needs marijuana to not be as “doped up” as the system wants him. You have to cut meds some how to function! The Government brain washed these good men to function in hell and on crazy drugs and now punish them. There is no respect in this country unless we listen with whole hearts of our loved ones that flight and worked hard for us. “We the people” does not include our government any longer. I believe our Founding Fathers goes for our mother’s, brothers and sisters, cousins, neices, and nephews that make this country proud. There are those of us that love you still!!!

  49. There’s no guarantee this was his life savings. It very well could have been drug money from dealing drugs. No telling whether he’s giving the cops a load of BS or not.

    But in this land we are innocent until proven guilty and that proof was not evident, lest he would have been charged and likely incarcerated for dealing drugs.

    This was BS and it’s sad that our arbitrators of the law- the courts- upheld this theft of personal property.

    This “war on drugs” is domestic terrorism- and no one is safe.

    • GBMichels He had the documents in his car proving where the money came from. There is your guarantee.

    • Say if he were 100% VA Service Connected Disabled, it would be about $3,000 a month. So if he lived on only $1,000 a month and saved $2,000 a month. You can save $63,000 cash pretty damn quick. Plus, he saved the Air Force money before. Many War Vets had money saved when they came back home. Some people can’t spend all of their money while they are overseas at war, say the ones with no wife & kids.

  50. Like I said before if this was a gang member and not a Vet would everyone be saying he is innocent? The law about seizing the money is so some scumbag drug dealer can’t use drug money to hire some high price lawyer. Hell this was drug money. He had documents about drugs in his car. Do any of you innocent people carry those in your car?

    • Dennis, Yes! On two accounts:

      1) Innocent until proven guilty.

      2) Right to interstate commerce (even drugs).

      Our country was founded on these fundamental principles, and millions of Americans have died to protect them. Yet, you completely disrespect those who have made the ultimate sacrifice each time you justify private property theft by a police state. What you call seizure is straight up theft.

      Why do you give a shit if someone else wants to smoke pot? Does that scare you? Are you OK with drinking beer, chewing tobacco, having a shot of espresso? Or do you think God gave you the right to crap on everyone elses rights, even if that right is to risk their own health?

      This entire “problem” goes away when the government gets out of our private lives. But there is too much money to be made through corporate control of drugs, government regulation/taxation and police enforcement.

      You are one of the bad guys, you just don’t recognize it yet.

    • No drugs were found stupid.

  51. This Dennis is like a dumb mule with a one track mind, being stupid.

  52. How dare he did not keep his money in a bank and make his 63 cents in interest…..

  53. Thank God’s Heaven Steve sees how we all need to respect the Rights of Others & Ourselves like our Forefathers wanted it to be.

  54. The United States Supreme Court has just ruled against this type of search. The traffic stop was legal. When they pulled out the drug sniffing dog, the search became unreasonable therefore illegal. No cop can smell weed on a backpack in a trunk. If that is the case, why do they need the dogs?

  55. Give his money back to him…you had no right to take it.. there were no charges. What do the police do with money that they rob from people and if in fact it was drug money which in this case it was not, why wouled they use drug money for? Would that not be considered dirty money?

  56. This veteran should get all of his money back IMMEDIATELY!

    This was an illegal action on the part of both the cop and that judge. People are SUPPOSED to be INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN…NOT ASSUMED…GUILTY!

    What the cop and the judge did was outright “legal” THEFT.
    (Laws that go AGAINST our Constitutional Freedoms and Rights ARE ILLEGAL LAWS!!)

  57. I’m an ex con, I’m not convinced that he is a criminal, even if the man smokes weed and he got paper work stating that the money is from his government checks they should return the money, it sounds to me like our government is trying to stick it to another one of our vets.

  58. He lied to the cop when he said he didn’t have money for a hotel. Lying to a cop is never a good idea. And if there was a smell of weed and books about making hash, that is pretty strong circumstantial evidence it was drug money. Veterans benefits and retirement pay from the military are about enough to get by on with dignity, not enough to pile up $63K in just the years since he served in Afghanistan. The documentation of the payments is fine but what else was he living on to be able to stash his payments in a grocery bag?

    • You are part of the problem. Your lifestyle may be such that “retirement is about enough to get by with dignity”, his may have been completely different. Be that as it may, how he chose to live and how he saved it up is no ones business. His supposed “lie” wasn’t necessarily a lie if he viewed that cash as a down payment on a house then it was earmarked for other things and in his mind he didn’t have enough to pay for a hotel. “Smell of weed” is regularly used as a way to gain access by law enforcement because you can’t prove he didn’t smell that. What can be proven and apparently was is that no drugs were found. Books about making hash is circumstantial evidence? So if you do research or just have a morbid curiosity about say, Charles Manson and buy a book to read is that evidence of your propensity to be a serial killer? Thank god you aren’t a judge and I hope to hell you aren’t a cop. As to what else he was living on that allowed him to stash that kind of money is, quite frankly, nobody’s damn business.

    • BoB you dumb ass like Dennis:
      I am a Disabled American Veteran – Us Army , Sgt.
      Say if he were 100% VA Service Connected Disabled, it would be about $3,000 a month. So if he lived on only $1,000 a month and saved $2,000 a month. You can save $63,000 cash pretty damn quick. Plus, he saved the Air Force money before. Many War Vets had money saved when they came back home. Some people can’t spend all of their money while they are overseas at war, say the ones with no wife & kids.

      • Another thing, for these stupid ass non-vets that know nothing about what say: Brewer says he has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and people forget about all of the back-pay you get from filing a claim like that. Stop chatting on here if you are dumb, ok.

  59. The direction this country is going regarding Police/Law Enforcement is frightening……..

  60. I have a solution to get Mr. Brewer’s money back.

    If the money was taken under false assumption, and this guy really is on the up and up and wasn’t in the middle of some big drug deal, this is wrong.

    One of Mark’s *trustworthy* friends should start up a GoFundMe type internet campaign. Crowd fund this veteran’s savings back. We could raise $65,000 pretty quick if 1200 people chipped in 50 bucks. And it might be tax free since it’s a gift, but I don’t know how this stuff works tax-wise. As a vet myself, I’d be happy to donate. Anyone else?

  61. Does the constitution not protect us against illegal search and seizure and prohibit seizure of personal property without due process?? Hmmmmmmm

  62. Assuming the legit-ability of no criminal action, police do not have right to confiscate cash, property or any other legitimate belongings. Confiscation of private property is a heinous crime and affront to our Republic’s Constitution.

    Certainly a hell of a way to thank any Veteran, or any legitimate citizen.

  63. The article is biased against the police. I do have to side with the police on this one case though. You can’t say the police was just looking for the money because he had no idea about it until the search. Which only happened after the officer smelled what he thought was drugs and then called for a k9 unit to drive over and check the car. The dog pinged the drugs (Which imo isn’t reliable since I had a dog ping my car for drugs when I had owned it for 7 years and had never used drugs in my life or had friends bring drugs with them into it as far as I know) Also, he wasn’t under arrest so he could have asked the officer if he was under arrest and once the officer stated no asked if he was free to go. If they aren’t charging you with something you don’t have to wait for that k9 backup unit. Now if he got pulled over by the k9 unit that’s just bad luck. All that aside they found drug manufacture information inside the vehicle and a large amount of cash. Odds are dude was involved with drugs somehow veteran or not. Why else carry a how to make drugs guide? I know veterans who are on drugs right now to cope with minor ptsd so yea it’s totally believable that this was drug money and no he shouldn’t get it back. If he didn’t have the how to make drugs guides he wouldn’t have had a problem and would have won back his money.

    The only thing that really sucks is that this ruling will be used to screw over legitimate people in the future.

    • So what??? He can move to a state where he will grow his own THC for PTSD legally. Does NOT mean he is is involved in drug dealing, PERIOD ~!!!

  64. I hate to say it but the Veteran is not black so nothing will be said or done about it. Heard about this story a long time ago. Crimes by police on white folk. Never happens right!

  65. I’m incredibly grossed out at the police and judges, this man did not only lose his savings he lost the opportunity to buy a house which by the way if you ask me the government should provide to all people who have served their country. They have enough to deal with emotional distress, finding a job and on top of everything they have to be treated like this? Is this how we treat people who have served our country? And the reason why they didn’t find marijuana after they searched his car is because police dogs are trained to scratch and sniff any areas after given a signal by a police officer, and they wonder why people don’t trust police anymore; shame on them. America land of the free?

  66. Melissa Mclaughlin

    They did the same thing to my son and his wife while they were driving thru texass to cali to see her mom after their wedding. They had not even $14,000 on them from an insurance settlement she received and wedding gifts, which I might say a great portion was from me and his grand parents that we have saved for a long time. They gave them the option to sign it over to the crooked ass police department…….or…..be charged with money laundering. There have been articles about this in texas, highway 40 thru panhandle and other parts. There was even a law suit filed by the ACLU on behalf of numerous others this happened to and they won $42 Million…..but it is still going on. they even had a mistrial the first go round because half the jurers were intelligent enough to see thru their tactics. And, they are not shy about saying they “take peoples money (majority black people) and spend it on fixing up their town jails, court houses, etc.) its ridiculous……they “Say” its “drug” money, though it has been proven time and again that these dog “free” air sniffs are nothing but B.S……and…..all oney is going to have some sort of trace of drug smell……we aren’t the first to hanldle it and certainly won’t be the last…..so thats a moot point. then….the bastards had the balls to try them again…..only THIS time…..”They” picked the jury……so you can guess how that played out. They were denying motions that were clearly wrong, they didn’t allow the tape from the traffic stop into evidence and they certainly didn’t want the fact that the sherriffs handcuffed my son and his wife to a pole for 5-6 hours, while they pulled his car into a barn and searched it and basically just had fun making fun of my kids. When my daughter-in-law was asked if she had anything to say, after they were found guilty and before they were sentenced, she figured, hell, nothing to lose now, and started speaking about what happened to them that night and they feared for their lives, which so was I, because all I knew was they were pulled over, then NOTHING until the next morning around 10am…..about 16 hours later. Anyways…..the judge got mad and said “well….now I am going top give you both the max sentence of 2 years…..just for lying in my court”…..WTF……LYING??? ARE YOU KIDDIN ME?? Thats ALL you people have been doing is LYING!! It was messed up…..this was back in 2010. We just found out yesterday they finally rulled on their appeal, which was filed and heard a year ago 4/7/14……and I am happy to say….WE WON…..they have reversed the verdict…..now…we have to wait to see if they wanna try them a THIRD time……they have until May 12 to make their decision…..and their release date is June 9…….so….we’ll see if they wanna continue this game…..or give up…….next up……OUR CIVIL-RIGHTS LAWSUIT!!!!! It is absolutely disgusting that a few states over, marijuana is legal…..and in that state…..you are sitting in jail because the money you were carrying…..a DOG says…..it smelled like marijuana…….the most UNJUST court system around……If I were anyone traveling…..STAY AWAY FROM PANHANDLE TEXAS…..Or any remote area in texas……CROOKED ASSES……..

  67. Cops are out of control. Rather than protecting our rights they are now violating our rights. At one point I was a strong supporter of cops. Not any longer.

  68. Unfortunately it has long been the law to confiscate cash in excess of $5000.00 in traffic stops as suspected drug money since drug dealers often carry that kind of cash around….back in the 70s, 60 minutes did a story on a man in Knoxville Tenn who had $10,000 in cash, paid for his plane tickets to Florida where he was headed to buy new shrubbery for his landscaping business….police were notified by the airlines, they confiscated his money….similar stories have been out over the years….and you would think people would learn, put it in the bank…get cashiers check for it……do anything just Don’t carry cash in that large amount…I feel for the retired and disabled vet, but it will cost more than that to get it back…..

    • Well certainly don’t agree to a search- ever!!!
      And make sure your lights work and you obey traffic ALL laws all the time…….it’a always about money for local coffers that LEO’s are mostly hired to procure ~!

  69. a thief with a badge and a robe — is still a thief

  70. This sucks just good old America greed . Give the dam money back .

  71. Any American should be able to keep his or her money any damned place they want to! Just because this man didn’t want to put that money in a bank doesn’t give anyone the right to seize it!….and what he chooses to read is of no consequence here! This is absolutely shameful….even more so to be done to a veteran!

  72. give the man back his money, unless you can prove that it is not his, then you better be able to prove that he got it illegally, what the heck is this crap.

  73. Now I understand why the Baltimore riots are happening, land of the free hahaha, free to what? the USA is a totally corrupt nation full of wonderful well meaning folk, PS it is the same way in the UK Proceeds of crime act

  74. These criminal assholes need to be sued for violating the 4th amendment rights of this patriot.

  75. there was no evidence that he was a drug dealer and documents in his car support this vet`s story that the money was legal yet they can confiscate his money on a cop`s say that he is connected to drugs? whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? or is it now guilty if a cop says so even though there is no evidence to support the cop`s word? now THAT`S a police state. it is unamerican and a slap in the face to EVERY man/woman who served in the armed forces.

  76. The dirt-bag cop should have been killed in the attempted robbery of this man’s doe.

  77. This is a violation of the 4th Amendment by the police department. Return the Veteran his money.

  78. YES I do believe that every cent of Veteran Brewer’s money should be returned, plus court costs !!!!!

  79. My grandmother did not like banking business either. When $ was needed, she went to ‘her’ bank and pulled out a $5 or $10 bill (back when one could get real value from their funds.) from one of dozens of unmarked boxed (storage) possessions. These days, I have little cash in my pocket or handbag. If I don’t have it on hand, I don’t spend it nor can anyone steal it, be it some kid or anyone else.

  80. This law is an outrage and in his case should be on his local TV and radio stations as well as the location of the precinct that promulgated this “legal” crime.
    He should have his senator+representative om legitimate Americans.

    I mean names addresses, email. phone# of cops, judge, court, town, county+state on line and on air ~!

  81. This law has been on the books for a while. The incentive for Law Enforcement to seize it, is the Agency gets to keep all or most of it. In this day and age, you can’t buy a home with Cash over $50K, it must be wired so I’m not sure if the story holds water. In any case, No Conviction / No Crime. Give the money back!

  82. Who cares what he was going to use the money for mabe he was going to stop in Colorado and buy legal weed. He wasn’t breaking any laws and the Government just screwed another Veteran.

  83. Something smells really fishy here and it isn’t the vet. Don’t want anything seized from your car, I guess you better not carry it in there. This man should get his money back unless they can prove he had drugs, was selling drugs or buying drugs. No laws were broken here.

  84. It takes giggleberries from congress to stop this plain out stealing from honest American folks, especially veterans of foreign wars and peacetime. God Bless America!!

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