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Wed Sep 1, 2021, 03:33 PM

Former Marine pulled over for following a truck too closely. Police took nearly $87,000 of his cash. [View all]

National Security

A former Marine was pulled over for following a truck too closely. Police took nearly $87,000 of his cash.

By Matt Zapotosky
Today at 10:30 a.m. EDT

The Nevada trooper first told Stephen Lara the highway patrol was educating drivers “about violations they may not realize they’re committing,” and that he’d been pulled over for following a tanker truck a bit too closely. After some small talk, the trooper admitted an ulterior purpose: stopping the smuggling of illegal drugs, weapons and currency as they crossed the state.

Lara — a former Marine who says he was on his way to visit his daughters in Northern California — insisted he was doing none of those things, though he readily admitted he had “a lot” of cash in his car. As he stood on the side of the road, police searched the vehicle, pulling nearly $87,000 in a zip-top bag from Lara’s trunk and insisting a drug-sniffing dog had detected something on the cash.

Police found no drugs, and Lara, 39, was charged with no crimes. But police nonetheless left with his money, calling a Drug Enforcement Administration agent to coordinate a process known as “adoption,” which allows federal authorities to seize cash or property they suspect is connected to criminal activity without levying criminal charges.

“I left there confused. I left there angry,” Lara said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And I could not believe that I had just been literally robbed on the side of the road by people with badges and guns.”

{snip}

By Matt Zapotosky
Matt Zapotosky covers the Justice Department for The Washington Post's national security team. He has previously worked covering the federal courthouse in Alexandria and local law enforcement in Prince George's County and Southern Maryland. Twitter https://twitter.com/mattzap

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Reply Former Marine pulled over for following a truck too closely. Police took nearly $87,000 of his cash. [View all]
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2021 OP
msongs Sep 2021 #1
Chainfire Sep 2021 #2
zipplewrath Sep 2021 #3
riversedge Sep 2021 #4
TheRealNorth Sep 2021 #5
discntnt_irny_srcsm Sep 2021 #6
PortTack Sep 2021 #7