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They Seized His Truck Because He Had 5 Bullets

They Seized His Truck Because He Had 5 Bullets

Driving with bullets apparently is now a crime in America. That’s what one U.S. citizen discovered.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized Gerardo Serrano’s truck and kept it for two years because he had five rounds in his center console.

The truck was stopped by CBP at a border crossing in Eagle Pass, Texas, because Serrano was taking pictures of the border crossing to share with his family, the Institute for Justice alleges. That caused agents to search his truck.

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When they found five low-caliber bullets, the agents alleged Serrano with transporting “munitions of war” and instituted civil forfeiture proceedings against him. That enabled them to take the Ford F-250 without even charging Serrano with a crime. He had to rent a car to get home to Kentucky.

Detained for Taking Pictures

“Gerardo was never convicted of a crime, let alone charged with one,” the Institute alleges. “Indeed, forgetting a few bullets in your car is not a crime. For taking pictures, Gerardo’s truck was seized under a law designed to punish international arms smugglers, not innocent Americans visiting family in Mexico.”

The Institute added, “No court has ever approved the seizure of Gerardo’s truck, and Gerardo has never had an opportunity to argue that he should get the truck back.”

To get the truck back, the Institute had to sue the CPB on Serrano’s behalf. Finally, it was returned in late October.

“The government cannot illegally seize and keep someone’s property for two years, and then give it back and pretend like no harm was done,” said Institute attorney Robert Everett Johnson. “We will continue to fight to see that Gerardo is made whole, and to make sure this never happens again.”

Under civil forfeiture law, prosecutors sue a piece of property in civil court instead of filing criminal charges. That enables them to take property, or money without filing charges or going to criminal court.

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8 comments

  1. Something seems fishy with this to me.
    Any other articles or info on this?

  2. Actually, if you are taking any ammunition across the border of Mexico, it is a crime. Even if done accidentally, it is considered a crime. That is why I will NEVER drive across the border, I would rather walk across.

    Having your vehicle confiscated – now THAT should be considered a crime as well. Way too harsh.

    • Taking cartridges into Mexico is a crime IN MEXICO – not in the U.S.
      Customs & Border Control normally wouldn’t care if a US citizen had ammo in his truck.
      There is more to this story than is reported here.

  3. TheSouthernNationalist

    These laws need to be repealed, I’m sure our founding fathers would agree.

  4. Civil Forfeiture is no less than a device that “allows” outright theft by the powers that be by allowing the legal fiction of accusing the desired property ( be it a truck, expensive car, or someones life savings ) of having been possibly involved in a criminal enterprise, and therefore it is forfeit. The property, of course, has no due process rights, so the finding is allows that the desired property is guilty , even absent ANY evidence of the assumed link to crime! In many locales, the officer doing the confiscation gets a cut, HIS DEPARTMENT gets a cut, the presiding court ( the judge ) GETS A CUT, – all done without even a reasonable suspicion of wrong doing by the rightful owner of said property, who is typically simply told to go away. It is the greatest abuse of power most of us can imagine involving property, and does not require justification ( in most areas, there is no recourse . The man in this story did get his truck back, after 2 years of being deprived of his use of it ). Most times, especially when cash is involved, the confiscated property is never seen again. This is NOT justice.

    • You are right and I think all government employees that take part in this should be hung for treason. It is a total violation of the US constitution.

  5. “When they found five low-caliber bullets”

    Ah ha! I see what you did there. If they were not high caliber bullets, they must be low caliber??? And, as we all know, a possessing a “low caliber” bullet is much less serious than high caliber! So, his so-called “crime” wasn’t really that all that bad. Maybe, kinda like comparing a low-carb diet to a high-carb diet???

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