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Don’t Carry Cash in Tennessee. The Cops May Take It

Written by Gary North on May 18, 2012

A New Jersey man was driving in Tennessee. He was pulled over to the side of the road by a state trooper. He had been speeding.

That was mistake #1.

The cop asked if the man was carrying money. The man sad yes.

That was mistake #2. He said was trying to buy a car.

Then the cop asked if he could search the car. The man said yes.

That was mistake #3. The cop confiscated the money. $20,000.

The cop never said in his report that the man said he wanted to buy a car. He said the man was trying to buy drugs. The moment a cop in Tennessee says this, the police department gets to keep the money unless the victim sues to get it back.

See for yourself.

The state paid back the money after (1) the news media picked up the story, (2) he surrendered his constitutional right to sue, (3) he waited four months.

Most people have to hire a lawyer to get their money back. That’s costly.

When I drive to my daughter’s place in Nashville, I never carry more than $50 in cash.

Of course, I normally carry no more than $20. When I go to Tennessee, I adopt my high-roller persona.

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38 thoughts on “Don’t Carry Cash in Tennessee. The Cops May Take It

  1. sean murry says:

    And i thought they were friendly down south.

  2. PhilCap says:

    Guess the car got sold out from under him.

  3. Max Penn says:

    This America is becoming a 3rd world country fast.

  4. submariner663 says:

    Silence is golden.

    If you are not convinced, listen to Prof. James Duane, a law professor at Regent University (Part 1) and Officer George Brunch from the Virginia Beach Police Department (Part 2).

  5. Now everyone can see the rise of new Fourth Reich in USA the police in many states act and perform just like the SS Gestapo did in the "Third Reich" of Adolph Hitler. When will we wake up. How corrupt is Tennessee?

  6. Jim guest says:

    Really ,Who carries $20,000.00 around with them to buy a car ?? What happened to banking ?? This is really suspious !! It smells of Deciete ,may be a drug dealer ,trying to buy a car and he got caught with the money !!! MAY be he was going to do something else ,that was sinister with the money,Drugs !!!?? I think the Police did the right thing .I'm sure he can get the money back if he can prove his sincerity and purpose .


  8. I don't think they can make you give up a right, in order to get back your wrongfully confiscated property.

  9. Robin Miller says:

    I do not trust or use banks, I use cash for all of my business.
    Banks cannot be trusted to keep your finances safe.
    Banks can be manipulated by computer hackers, who steal your money.
    I think that I have made my point, and who are you to question the man's integrity?

  10. fayettebill says:

    @ Jim, There is this pesky problem of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. As John Stossel says in his book "No, They Can't" The bizarre legal fiction of Forfeiture is a Billion dollar cash cow for law enforcement. Police can seize your property if they THINK it was used/going to be used in a drug crime. Maybe this guy was going to buy drugs maybe he wasn't. It should not be up to the Cops to be arresting officer, judge and jury. If they had probable cause, arrest him and take him to court – otherwise leave him the hell alone!

  11. Big Bubba says:

    I know quite a few people that carry large sums of cash to buy collectible cars at car shows – $50k isn’t uncommon – cash is king!

  12. I know 10 people that have paid cash for a car, 0 of them were drug dealers or doing something illegal. A lot of people in the country use Dave Ramsey's financial peace system to control their spending and get themselves out of debt. That system utilizes an envelope and cash system. This is not unusual.

  13. Puppy Dog says:

    What is happening to our country? Who can we trust? Are we to become like the cops?

    Since cops can legally lie to us, in turn, we must lie to them for self-protection. May God help us!

  14. Thousands of people who don't trust banks pay for everything in cash. I can't remember this being against the law. If the man bought something or did something illegal, arrest him. But beyond that stay out of his business. Here is the worry. When the time comes for legitimate civil disobedience against those who would enslave us, whose side will the police forces take. I believe they are sworn to uphold the constitution also. Will they? Who knows? I think we are in big trouble folks.

  15. puppy Dog says:

    When you buy a car on ebay, the seller requires cash but may accept a certified check. A wise buyer only pays when they inspect the car. I had cash. Don't accuse without complete knowledge of what you speak.

  16. Fr. Frank+ says:

    You are correct, Taina. Signing an agreement not to sue does not preclude you from actually suing, it merely deters. But if you plan to sue, you need to know that you WILL lose the initial suit, and most likely the two state level appeals, meaning you better be ready to take it to the US district court, OR file a suit for deprivation of civil rights concurrent with swearing an affidavit to the same against the officer making the confiscation. This is the legal civil equivalent of a felony charge against the officer and their department, so you know they're going to get out their big legal guns.

  17. They are; New Jersey is considered to be in the northern part of the United States.

  18. Problem with cops is that they "THINK" too much. All this means is that if a cop wants your money, all he has to do is "think" that it might be used in a crime, confiscated it, write down a lessor amount and it will be up to YOU to prove that he took more. What's funny is that some of the biggest drug dealers are DARE cops. What this sounds like is a TSA VIPR stop. This garbage has got to STOP!

    I've lived in TN off and on since 1991, and the state is getting worse each year with more and more infringements against US citizens. If you're an illegal, you're golden.

  19. Anthony says:

    What a disgrace. The laws are unconstitutional and the officer, who takes an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, violated the Constitution and his oath. Utterly dispicable. Remember never consent to a search. If the officer has probable cause he will act or get a warrant.

  20. My 18 year old son paid cash for his car. He inherited some money when his father died. I guess the TN cops would have a field day stealing money from him. If police continue to behave this way they will earn the moniker used back in the late '60's and early '70's: PIG. I never used it back then, but based on the way the government is treating citizens, I might just start using it.

  21. Dr. Barbara says:

    This happened in Tennessee.


    NEVER agree to allowing your car to be searched. Just say NO! Say I know my rights and do not care to allow you to search me or my vehicle. Ask what is the probable cause. Police vehicles have cameras now and you can supoena he video if they then violate your rights and search or arrest you. Be polite, make eye contact and call the officer Sir or Mamm and only speak when spoken to if you are pulled over but say NO SEARCHES.

  23. Iftruthbeknown says:

    Wow. I had often thought of retiring to Tennessee…..but no more. Guess I'll just stay up north. Bummer.

  24. Let's see–in checking the notes in my wallet, I find this wording: "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private". I assume it must be legal to carry and use large numbers of these for payment–it says "ALL DEBTS". It doesn't say "all debts up to and including __________". It doesn't say "Persons found with large quantities of these on their person should be treated with suspicion". Sounds to me like the Government would like to have it both ways, and they've succeeded in convincing you as well.

  25. Those of you who have lived in foreign countries, especially "third-world" countries, are not surprised at the idea of police corruption. In those countries, power and authority are ALWAYS used to economically benefit the holder. The more power and authority, the more economic benefit. What else is power for??? Anyone who would not use power in this way is viewed as hopelessly naive. Wealth, in those societies, is gained primarily by looting–it's a zero-sum game. Here's a news flash for those of you who've been asleep for the last 30 years: The United States became a third-world country philosophically at least a couple of decades ago. Since that time, we've been on a collision course with our inevitable destiny of being a third-world country socially and economically. There's no way world view can be separated from practice. Ideas really do have consequences. What we're seeing in Tennessee and other places with out-of-control (read: dishonorable) cops is only the logical outgrowth of a society that has–okay, I'll say it–turned from the God of the Bible.

  26. Erik Osbun says:

    Extortion by the police in the USA. Maybe the Tennessee police think they can get away with the same kind of thing that supports the Mexican police. In simple language, they use power to extort your property.

  27. utfan52 says:

    well I guess there are no bad apples where you live now are there???? DUMB ASS !!! Do ua a favor and please stay there!!!!

  28. Bill McCroskey says:

    The federal government wants ANY transaction over a hundred dollars or close to be digital with an electronic paper trail. Best way to enforce it with no law to make you use electronic digits ….. consficate cash over a few hundred dollars and let these type of stories to circulate to scare off the public from using cash for ANY transaction other than the smallest. So the 'Feds' look the other way and by doing so openingly encourage this type of theft. Hope gas doesn't keep going up … it can cost well over a hundred to fill up someall motorhomes most SUV's and pick ups in order to get the price as advertised or they nick you 5 or more cents a gallon for ANY type of card usage. We now live in a fascist ruled country.

  29. I hope that he got a receipt from the arresting officer with at least two signatures on it! Otherwise, the money will never be accounted for and the cop will have made out like a bandit! Then the guy will have to sue to get his $$ back. BTW- There's always 3 sides to a story. 1. The complainant's side (like here) 2. the policeman's story. 3. The REAL truth.

  30. They are, but Tennessee is Al Gore's home state. The cash seizure was a fine for buring fossil fuel that the Geocalorian High Priest Gore needs to burn to provide electricity for his mammoth mansion.

  31. harbinger says:

    The highway man has a badge.

  32. maybe he was hiring a hit man to off someone? It is a little weird that anyone would be carrying $20,000 on them.

  33. I use only cash too,and don’t trust banks. I keep every thing locked up where I know where it is, not a I owe U at the bank, I like the feel of hard currency.

  34. norman jennings says:

    i thought boss hogg was in ky……dolly wont like this to get around….jack wv

  35. I am a Tennesseean to the core. Most of us are very friendly folks, bless every ones heart. But there are dirty cops here just like every where else some worse than others. I hate dirty cops . No search No search.

  36. Most people selling a car will not accept a check. Period. They don't know you and have no reason at all to believe you're honest, especially if you're from out of town. There are stories all the time of even supposedly certified cashier's checks being fraudulent, and often go through several hands (including banks) before they finally "bounce" and come back.

  37. (Continued from above)

    I collect expensive vintage guitars. I have several of them that are worth five figures. There is no way on earth I would accept anything other than cash if I wanted to sell one. When I go to guitar shows I usually take a minimum of ten thousand dollars with me in case I see something I'm interested in.

    My dad was a car dealer. He always had five-thousand or so in his pocket in case he saw a car he wanted. (This was back when five-thousand was a lot of money.) Once when I was a kid, in a parking lot at Sears as we were going to our car, he saw a nice-looking convertible and said "That'd be a sharp attention-grabber on my lot!" We waited until the owner came out and my dad bought the car from him on the spot.

  38. (Continued from above)

    Carrying large amounts of cash is only "weird" to people who have no reason to do it or don't have the money to do so.

    The bottom line is you have a right to be "weird" or carry around as much cash as you want for no other reason than just because you feel like it.

    People who ignore or try to justify unconstitutional laws and behavior (especially by the government) just because it doesn't apply for you are just as dangerous to the freedom of our country as those whose actions you ignore of try to justify.