Armed federal agents wearing bulletproof vests raided a North Carolina woman’s property because her used SUV may have been an illegal import that doesn’t meet US pollution standards.
She had poured $60,000 into the car and said she believed it was a legal purchase.
Jennifer Brinkley was one of 40 people who say that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seized their vehicles. Her vehicle was a Land Rover.
“They knocked on my door and took my car,” Brinkley said. The North Carolina resident told a TV station that a large force of federal agents and local law enforcement officers in several vehicles came onto her property, frightening her.
It changed her view of liberty and government.
“That was the saddest thing for me — that everything my father fought for didn’t exist anymore,” Brinkley said. “He fought in a war to protect our property so we could live in a free country.”
Vehicles Seized over Air Pollution Regulations?
Federal agents targeted Brinkley after she and her husband purchased a used Land Rover Defender. The Defender is a popular model of the iconic British SUV that cannot be legally sold in the US because it does not comply with American vehicle safety or air pollution regulations.
Brinkley believed her Defender complied with the law because she thought it was more 25 years old, which would have made it legal. But the VIN number on her vehicle may have been altered to make it appear older than it actually is. That means Brinkley might have been the victim of a scam and she ended up being treated like a criminal.
“They popped up the hood and looked at the Vehicle Identification Number and compared it with a piece of paper and then took the car with them,” she told WBTV.
“I’m surprised that somebody can come in and take your property,” Brinkley told Fox News.
Federal Agents Didn’t Know Why They Were Seizing Woman’s Property
What’s truly bothersome is that the federal agents who took Brinkley’s vehicle did not know why they were seizing her property. One of the agents told her that he thought the raid might have something to do with the Clean Air Act.
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To make matters worse, the warrant that agents gave Brinkley didn’t have her name on it. Instead, it had the name of a previous owner. Brinkley told Fox News that the Defender was bought and sold three or four times since that person owned it.
The raids were reportedly prompted by a lawsuit that claims the VIN numbers had been changed.
“It’s scary when it happens to you on a personal level,” Brinkley said.
Brinkley is fighting to get her vehicle back and has hired an attorney and will file an appeal.
“I want my car back,” she says.
Should federal agents have taken Brinkley’s Land Rover? Tell us in the section below: