Lonely Planet Writer

Feds seize traveller’s $16,000 in cash

Hollywood sign.
Hollywood sign. Image by Fabio Ikezaki / CC BY-SA 2.0

An aspiring music video producer named Joseph Rivers says agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration took $16,000 in cash he had saved and borrowed to begin his dream career in Hollywood, even though he was not arrested or charged with a crime. Under a controversial US law called civil asset forfeiture, federal and state law enforcement officers can seize assets from persons suspected of criminal involvement without actually charging the owners of any crime. Rivers said the seizure took place at an Amtrak train station in Albuquerque, NM, and he carried the cash because he had previously had difficulty withdrawing large sums from his out-of-state bank. A spokesperson for the DEA said carrying large sums of money indicates ‘drug activity’. Rivers has returned home to Michigan and hired an attorney. Read more: abqjournal.com