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  • Tricky Traffic Stop

    My sarge and I were up top on I-75 last night running some traffic and I got one a 93/75. Pull it over and the driver speaks little english and is about 19 yoa. He has an Int'l DL, the plates come back no record found, as does the VIN, and the passengers no speak the english either. I get onto the driver a little more about no DL (from my understanding, you have to have your country's issuing DL in possession as well as Intl DL) and then he suddenly no speak the english either. We get consent to search (in a sense) and find 10,000 in cash. Well no can claim it, bc no one speaka the english, as I said earlier. Then, we get a spanish speaking officer on the phone, and we determine that the female passenger claims the money, and was attempting to try to buy a car in Ocala (Plates and occupants are from Ga). Also, driver said he borrowed car from friend, but does not know his name. I ended up writing two cites and lettin them go (after thourough search yielded nothing, no warrant hits, and no K-9 available). Stop lasted 45 mins. I feel like they left drivin down the highway laughin at me and my sarge. Something didnt feel right, but what else could I have done?
    press hard-5 copies

  • #2
    Well, it is easy to Monday morning quarterback things, but you did what you felt was right at the time, and that is important. International DL's are useless w/o the DL from the original country. With the tag coming back unassigned, and the same with the VIN, and the driver having no D/L I would have taken him and towed the car. That's just the "traffic officer" in me though. As far as the cash, a bit abnormal, but nothing you can really do there.
    In law enforcement, the customer is ALWAYS wrong.

    In God we trust. Everyone else is run through NCIC.

    Sometimes there is justice. Sometimes there is just us.

    I'd rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.


    The opinions given in my posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only.

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    • #3
      Could have taken them in for an AFIS check and detained them a little longer for investigation purposes. Sounds like it might have been a drug run with the vehicle not coming back. Not much else you could of done except keep the money as a tip for your hard work, since they no speaky the english.
      Arguing with a Cop is like mud wrestling with a pig. Eventually you will realize that the Pig likes it.

      My Chief

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      • #4
        I thinks me right

        I am pretty sure that it is illegal to carry $10,000 or more on your person without an IRS statement form. I know I made a stop last year where we confiscated $30,000, and a fed told me that over the phone. We asset forfeitured it (he was running drugs to Mexico), and it made my Chief's week!!
        You might have been able to hold them on the money, then do some digging with the IRS or feds. Good question, though

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mickmack111
          I am pretty sure that it is illegal to carry $10,000 or more on your person without an IRS statement form. I know I made a stop last year where we confiscated $30,000, and a fed told me that over the phone. We asset forfeitured it (he was running drugs to Mexico), and it made my Chief's week!!
          You might have been able to hold them on the money, then do some digging with the IRS or feds. Good question, though
          You are correct. You are supposed to be a licensed courier to carry that large of an amount of cash. If a private person does it, they should have the documentation for the cash.

          If they don't have documentation, sieze it and make them prove it is legal in court.
          Sign here. Press hard. You are making five copies.

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          • #6
            I would have been really iffy about the Cash... Either they just sold or where making a buy soon... Since you where not able to identify either the driver or passanger... I am assuming they had no passport or ID other then thier fake Int. DL, Hook em and deport em. Impound the car, since I am sure they wouldn't come to get it anyway. Then when some sucker buys it from police auction the thousands of dollars of meth and weed that are hidden in the tires and frame are a bonus gift when discovered...

            In the heat of the moment, I probly would have done the same thing, but since I can sit here and think about it, ya can always come up with things ya "would have done"...

            my .02
            ~Wise men stand behind me, Brave men stand beside me, only Fools stand against me!~

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GoGo Gadget
              Got a reference for that law? I would like to read it. Not that I will ever have $10k in cash.
              I'll see if I can find it. I learned that in Criminal Patrol (Drug Interdiction) training. 10k is the cutoff.
              Sign here. Press hard. You are making five copies.

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              • #8
                Absent other suspicious circumstances, there is no problem with carrying large amounts of cash inside the country. The problem arises when you cross the border or make a cash purchase of $10,000 or more(That requires a CTR). In any case, it's a Federal problem, not yours.(That doesn't mean you can't give them a heads up)
                You did what your supervisor told you to do and you went home last night. You're covered. I wouldn't sweat it.
                Laws and procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction so it's difficult to fully assess the situation and yours may be different but here's what I would have done;
                1)NCIC only lists vins for stolen cars but you should be able to check with the issuing state. If it wasn't on file with GA, I would smell a rat. At most, it only takes a phone call to check. I would have gone over that car with a fine tooth comb to make sure all the vins(dash, hidden, door, hood and trunk stickers etc.) were present, were the same and not were altered in any way. It's possible that there's a glitch at GA DMV but I wouldn't automatically assume that. If they screwed up, it's shame on them, not you. The driver doesn't know the owner's name? Whoops, another red flag.
                2)You have an undocumented operator driving an undocumented car at 93 in a 75. I would smell a rat. His International License is a worthless piece of paper. You are under no obligation to accept it as given.
                3)You have that undocumented driver carrying a large amount of cash. I would smell a rat.
                Those three things would be more than enough for me to warrant a trip to the station house for further investigation. All of the occupants would have been separated and interviewed individually to confirm their story. No speaka English? No speaka to each other either. That driver and that car would not leave until I was satisfied that everything was legit. (or until a boss told me to cut him loose)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by duckfan
                  Absent other suspicious circumstances, there is no problem with carrying large amounts of cash inside the country. The problem arises when you cross the border or make a cash purchase of $10,000 or more(That requires a CTR). In any case, it's a Federal problem, not yours.(That doesn't mean you can't give them a heads up)
                  You did what your supervisor told you to do and you went home last night. You're covered. I wouldn't sweat it.
                  Laws and procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction so it's difficult to fully assess the situation and yours may be different but here's what I would have done;
                  1)NCIC only lists vins for stolen cars but you should be able to check with the issuing state. If it wasn't on file with GA, I would smell a rat. At most, it only takes a phone call to check. I would have gone over that car with a fine tooth comb to make sure all the vins(dash, hidden, door, hood and trunk stickers etc.) were present, were the same and not were altered in any way. It's possible that there's a glitch at GA DMV but I wouldn't automatically assume that. If they screwed up, it's shame on them, not you. The driver doesn't know the owner's name? Whoops, another red flag.
                  2)You have an undocumented operator driving an undocumented car at 93 in a 75. I would smell a rat. His International License is a worthless piece of paper. You are under no obligation to accept it as given.
                  3)You have that undocumented driver carrying a large amount of cash. I would smell a rat.
                  Those three things would be more than enough for me to warrant a trip to the station house for further investigation. All of the occupants would have been separated and interviewed individually to confirm their story. No speaka English? No speaka to each other either. That driver and that car would not leave until I was satisfied that everything was legit. (or until a boss told me to cut him loose)
                  I must disagree. There *is* a problem with undocumented large amounts of cash over 10k dollars. If they can not document it, you *can* seize it. If you don't believe me, call the DEA.

                  As far as being absent any other suspicions:

                  1. Occupants with no verifiable ID.

                  2. A vehicle which does not return on NCIC.

                  3. The driver does not know the vehicle owner's name yet the owner let him borrow it.

                  4. They are out of state to buy a car.

                  5. They have no documentation to support the possession of such a large amount of currency.


                  I don't know how you think there wasn't any suspicion there.
                  Sign here. Press hard. You are making five copies.

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                  • #10
                    IRS Form 8300 is the req' document when making cash transactions >10k.
                    "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

                    For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

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                    • #11
                      Unable to confirm ID under suspicious circumstances - drug corridor, carrying large amount of cash, undocumented vehicle = detain and print the subjects, fax prints to FBI for confirmation. All you need is reasonable suspicion here that crime may be afoot.

                      Call a wrecker for the vehicle and conduct inventory search per department SOP since you can't very well leave a vheicle that you cannot eliminate as a potentially stolen vehicle sitting on the side of the interestate.

                      While waiting for the prints segregate the occupants and have the spanish speaking officer get stories. Then put em together in a room that you can observe remotely and watch and listen.

                      This, of course, having time to sit on my butt and think about it all.

                      -web
                      "there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway

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                      • #12
                        OK. Federal laws you can use to seize money:

                        If they identify themselves as a money courier but do not have any kind of documentation: US Code Title 31 Subtitle IV Chapter 53 Subchapter II Section: 5330

                        This code section requires them to be registered to do business as a money courier.

                        If they have undocumented cash in excess of 10k and can't satisfy your suspicions: US Code Title 31 Subtitle IV Chapter 53 Subchapter II Section: 5332

                        This section makes it a crime to smuggle cash in excess of 10k out of the country.

                        You can use this to seize cash in excess of 10k until they document that they possessed it legally.

                        Of course if you are going to seize cash federally, you need the assistance of the DEA.
                        Sign here. Press hard. You are making five copies.

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                        • #13
                          Some time ago I heard that International Drivers Licens's arn't recognized as a valid license to drive with. Can anyone shed light on this? 2 or 3 years ago I remember a lot of them showing up, but cannot recall how they were handled.
                          The only thing evil needs to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.

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                          • #14
                            AtlCop,
                            Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. As far as I'm concerned, in the scenario given, there was more than enough for probable cause. However, carrying large amounts of cash, in and by itself, is by no means grounds for a seizure, Federally or otherwise. For example, in NY you are prohibited from selling an automobile for anything other than cash, bank check or certified check. If I stopped normal Joe Blow citizen with $10,000 cash and he told me that he had just sold a used car and was on his way to the bank to deposit the money, the interview is over. That's a reasonable explanation and he just dissipated my probable cause. On the other hand, if Jose Blow was speeding, unlicensed, in an "un-car" and with $10,000 he claims no knowledge of, he takes a ride to the house. If that resulted in obtaining further evidence of illegal activity related to the cash, it would be seized. If not, it would be returned as soon as he provides proof of ownership. He could do that on the same day he appears in court to answer the speeder and other coupons I gave him.(yeah right!)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Army MP
                              Some time ago I heard that International Drivers Licens's arn't recognized as a valid license to drive with. Can anyone shed light on this? 2 or 3 years ago I remember a lot of them showing up, but cannot recall how they were handled.
                              A genuine International Driver's License has the operator's information translated into whatever language is spoken in the country they are driving in. It also must be accompanied by a valid license from the operator's country. A genuine one looks sort of like a passport.

                              The most common form of "International Driver's License" is a laminated ID with the person's name and address on it. Sometimes it contains a picture, sometimes it doesn't. They can be purchased at a variety of web sites for as little as $20, and they all have "Internation Driver's License" written on the top. They are absolutely worthless. They are as invalid as a person handing you a scrap of paper or crumpled notebook paper with their handwritten name on it and claiming that is their ID. (Yes, that has happened to me.)
                              Cogito ergo summopere periculosus.

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