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Police Hold Children Hostage, and Motorists Pay

Written by Gary North on June 5, 2012

This is the accusation of critics of the budget-balancing program in a Texas town.

The town takes in $800,000 a year with this program. The police stop people driving through. They charge them with drug trafficking. They take their children and turn them over to Child Protective Services. Then, to get their kids back, the drivers must forfeit their money.

Is this creative budget-balancing, or what?

Documents reviewed by The Associated Press describe the extent to which children became pawns as authorities in Tenaha, a town near the Louisiana border, accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars through highway traffic stops that have since sparked a federal investigation.

“They basically said, ‘If you all want to leave without going to jail tonight and take your kids with you, then you’ll sign over your money right now,'” Jennifer Boatright, a Houston mother of two, said in an interview describing her encounter with local officials.

The town has been named in a class-action suit. The Justice Department is also investigating.

The involvement of children adds another element to a case that has especially troubled critics of civil asset forfeiture laws. Those laws allow authorities to seize cash or other property if they believe it’s linked to criminal activity, even in cases where defendants aren’t found guilty.

In two of the Tenaha incidents, authorities separated a small child from one couple pulled over in a traffic stop and threatened to do the same to another, according to case documents.

One man had to hand over $50,000. His 16-month-old son was taken from him. “Agostini asserts in the suit that authorities even denied his request to kiss the boy goodbye.”

He did get his money back after he filed suit.

In another incident in 2007, Boatright, her boyfriend and their two children were pulled over for what Washington’s report said was “driving in the left lane for over a half mile without passing and crossing over (the) white line.” Washington wrote that he searched the car because he smelled marijuana and found $6,000 in the console.

The couple was cited for money laundering and child endangerment. But they avoided going to jail and surrendering their children, ages 18 months and 12 years, by immediately agreeing to forfeit the cash, according to a court document spelling out the arrangement.

Asset forfeiture is a big deal, and it is getting bigger. If you have more than $100 in currency, you would be wise not to break and vehicle safety laws.
Wear a white shirt and tie. Look like a lawyer or someone who can hire a lawyer.

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61 thoughts on “Police Hold Children Hostage, and Motorists Pay

  1. b.milos says:

    How do these professional bullies stay out of prison? Why hasn't somebody shot them when they were taking their children while they were being robed?

  2. Bob Tull says:

    Leave it to the Communist Justice Department sees something wrong with this? It's just good, creative funding of services that Big Government shouldn't be providing. And I'll bet they only use it against people who, you know, look liberal anyway.

  3. It's coming to that.

  4. The Country has gone down the tubes! FREEDOM no longer exists! We are slaves to the State! "YOU" tired of this state of affairs yet? Do Something! Don't just set there! Do Something!

  5. sean murry says:

    iam tired of this state of affairs the justice dept wont do a thing about this it is greed.

  6. That is: kidnapping and extorsion. IF this is what law enforcement stands for then I say its time to lock n load.

  7. Taquoshi says:

    Well, the word is out now and motorists will hopefully be avoiding that town. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    Good to know that the money has been returned to one person.

  8. James Boardman says:

    This is just a taste of things to come. God help the American people to wake up.

  9. This sounds like a godsend for some astute, enterprising attorney to take on pro-Bono and make national news for him/herself and promote their career.

  10. It is coming to the point where these Cop's are going to be getting SHOT on site for these Crimes against our persons, liberties and freedoms. These are FELONS IN POSSESSION OF BADGES AND THAT MAKES THEM THE MOST DANGEROUS CRIMINALS OF THEM ALL.

  11. What is worst than a thief, than the murderer, even the rapist…it is the one who falsely testifies and makes claims against the innocent of such…To me, there is no greater sin against YHVH than to falsely testify in his name. Scripture says it all don't it?

    Deuteronomy 19:16-21
    16} If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
    17} Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;
    18} And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
    19} Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
    20} And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
    21} And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

  12. This is like every little town, having a "Holder" on steroids!

  13. smogdew says:

    Gestapo tactics – but taking problems to Holder is more of the same. It would be like throwing marshmallow on the court house steps. He might not have time, right now he's suing everybody and their brother for disobeying Obama.

  14. We are at a place in time where anyone can be destroyed by false drug or child porn charges.

  15. smogdew says:

    Gestapo tactics – but taking problems to Holder is more of the same. It would be like throwing marshmallow on the court house steps. He might not have time, right now he's suing everybody and their brother for disobeying Obama

  16. What a shame..and in Texas. I would expect this in the east coast or the west coast but not in Texas. Houston however has always been a shady city…..needs purging.

  17. Another town to avoid in Louisiana is Tallulah; it's a speed trap.

  18. The Jusice department is also investigating? The congress needs to be investigating the Justice Department amd "WE THE PEOPLE" need to get on the congress members butts. There is a heck of a lot more that needs to be investigated.

  19. Where is the state government of Texas in all this, They should have thrown these town officials in prison a long time age. OK Gov, Perry where are you and the Texas Rangers on this one.

  20. Hotnike says:

    Lock, load and possibly USE.

  21. Rick Caird says:

    I am not a proponent of more Federal laws, but in this case we need one to override these phoney forfeiture laws. I suggest a law that states: "Anyone traveling interstate cannot have any money or property confiscated unless they have been tried and convicted of a crime".

    The idea of civil forfeiture is the legal fiction that the money or property is guilty of a crime and need not be tried. That fiction needs to go away.

  22. Max Penn says:

    The scum of the earth is in control of America.

  23. Yep. The Justice Dept. is too busy suing states that try to prevent illegal people from voting.

  24. vincent says:

    What part of DUE PROCESS do you not understand? Are you a government employee? That might explain your ignorance of the Bill of Rights…

  25. dadzrites says:

    It's interesting. A number of years ago a biker shot a state trooper in NJ (Lamonaco). When asked in court why he shot the trooper, the biker said that the trooper had it in for him and that he (the biker) knew he wasn't going to get out of the vehicle stop alive. So it came down to who drew their gun faster. It was an old-fashioned gunfight in the street with the winner being the quicker draw. The biker shot the trooper dead.

    This is where these types of situations are going to wind up as more and more police start violating the rights of a well-armed citizenry. The police are outnumbered by a hell of a lot more armed, responsible citizens willing to take it to irresponsible armed government thugs.

  26. Doctor Bob says:

    …… and I thought the only PIRATES in the world were operating out of Somalia. This is a disgrace to Tenaha, Texas! Obviously the town is being run by criminals. I hope the local voters stand up and reverse this outrage. I would have said that I hope that Eric Holder's INjustice Department would step in and make things right, but then I stopped and thought about that idea.

  27. Forfeiture laws are unconstitutional but that does'nt seem to bother most people unless it's there money !!!

  28. Doesn't and their. Sorry was in a hurry.

  29. PrincessPhilly says:

    This country is so corrupt and has gone to hell. Carry guns and if someone threatens to kidnap my child they will be looking at a gun to their head. I have the right to defend myself and my child and will exercise it. People need to stand up for their rights and fight back and not let the bullies control you. Keep your guns , do not turn over to the government. That is what they want us defenseless so they can bully us.

  30. Sounds like the town is close to Highway 10, a major drug trafficking highway. The antics of the Highway Patrol stopping innocent people on that road got so bad that it made national television a few years back, and it all stopped. Just avoid Highway 10 and you'll be okay,.

  31. I believe it is close to I-10. I know where Teneha is, but had no idea they did that kind of thing. I don't know of any other place in TX that does that. if there Is I would be interested in hearing about it.

  32. What the hell was this guy doing with $ 50,000 in cash in his car. The other couple with $ 6,000. What else would you be doing, but making a drug run

  33. Since when is it illegal to carry cash? So what if I am carrying a lot of cash? Maybe I'm buying something big. Maybe I like using cash because it gives me more privacy than a check or a debit/credit card. Maybe I just like to carry around lots of money because it makes me feel important. So what! Why should I have to explain anything to anyone? Again, since when is it illegal to carry cash, regardless of the amount? Ever heard of FREEDOM?

  34. They are probably investigating only to find out how they can get their cut of the profits and/or how to implement it nationwide.

  35. Didn't Gary run an article about lawfully resisting an unjust arrest? Does anyone know anything about how to do that? Since bad situations like this are becoming commonplace in this country, I think that everyone should know all of their options.

  36. Anthony says:

    I live in the same region of TX as Tenaha. This is a big, corrupt, disgrace. Every officer that participated and any other official who knew about this and did nothing, they all should be taken out and shot. It is better to have no police "protection" then to have corrupt police. Down here most people have at least one gun. Just let us provide our own protection from criminals and we will get by just fine.


  38. jimpeel says:

    Go to http://www.fear.org to see who is fighting against this type of organized theft. Theft under color of authority is still theft.

    The police have been turned into monetary bounty hunters.

  39. @ Guest : Is that Texas Highway 10 or U.S. Interstate Highway 10 ? A better location would be in order.

  40. Public_Citizen says:

    This is an almost perfect example of the corrupting influence of the asset forfeiture laws.
    Once again the liberals good intentions have led to a "fix" creating a problem that is an order of magnitude [or more] larger than the perceived original problem.
    The asset seizure laws need to be stricken from the books immediately. As long as these laws provide an incentive for Law Enforcement to seize money and property from private citizens then unscrupulous police will look for more and more excuses to engage in confiscatory activity.
    The example cited in this article has the appearance of kidnapping for ransom, using the protective coloration of law enforcement and the willing co-operation of local civil authority, which now brings in to play conspiracy. Every day that this situation goes uncorrected is one more day of encouragement to some less timid municipality to deploy a similar predatory scheme.

  41. Erik Osbun says:

    Obviously, this is theft by threat by this Louisiana town. This town needs a complete change of government.

  42. gadfly32 says:

    I agree with wht you said about the police. However do you think the police thought this up or do you think that the city fathers brought this up as a way to balance the budget.

    this is merely an extention og speed traps that many towns used to fund their budgets.

  43. jim28threg. says:

    My goodness are you stupid. This is a good thing? they need a lesson from Colt.

  44. 1776Patriot says:

    Holder wants his cut, you mean

  45. 1776Patriot says:

    Avoiding the problem is not the issue. The issue must be dealt with NOW. If you just avoid that HWY they will soon move to other HWYs.

  46. The so-called "war on drugs" has always been a war on U.S. citizens. It hasn't made a dent in the amount of drugs being used, and it's making cartels rich beyond imagining. When police can "find" drugs on any of your property for nefarious reasons, there's something desperately wrong with the law. The same goes for them storming your home, killing your dog, and terrifying your family without even a fairthewell or apology for it, though you're proven innocent. Legalize drugs now!

  47. HadEnuf says:

    We have a communist regime that is running rampant, that's how they get away with it. The states must start manning militias to send them a message that we have HadEnuf!

  48. Mitchina says:

    My 1st question is, did you all read the entire article? "The federal government is investigating the local district attorney's system of allowing suspected drug runners and money launderers to receive extremely light sentences, or even escape criminal charges altogether, if they forfeited their cash to the prosecutors office."

    2nd question – WHO THE HELL has 6K or 50K in the freaking car? Wait.. I know… criminals – yeah, I would think they were all lying also if I were a cop – hell.. if I am just ME I would think that. Ole Agostini needs to get with the times and start using modern ways of dealing trade with cash – what a freakign moron.

    Oh and Dr Bob… we have a whole white house full of pirates.

  49. I went to a city about 75 miles from me a month or so ago. I had a pretty large sum of cash. Why? I was buying silver. No drugs, nothing illegal or anything, just buying silver. By the way, they only take cash. You show up with a check, you can leave with the check too. No cards either. CASH ONLY !!

    I'm with sawu on this. Cash is LEGAL tender. Why should it be illegal to carry it?

  50. " You shall not steal" applies to cops as well as robbers. One of these days they'll find that out the hard way.

  51. I hate to say this. I'm law abiding and all but if someone tries to take my money, cop or not, they are a thief. I don't have any use for thieves. I'm not sure they deserve to be among us. I like the old days where you could leave your home and not even lock the door. Now, you can't even go down the road at 60 mph and be safe.

  52. There already is a law that supersedes all so-called "laws" thereafter. It's called the Constitution. And then there are state Constitutions, which by and large are quite similar.
    No more fed "laws"… Ever!

  53. Tenaha has been sued over this type of conduct before, according to a note on Google Earth. It is also in a heavily Democratic county. One of the inhabitants of the county who was born in the late 1800's was given, as his Christian name, "John Wilkes Booth" because of Reconstruction.

  54. The town of Tenaha has a populatoin of just over 1000 and covers 4 square miles. The police department probably consists only 2, maybe 3 officers. They probably earn about $25,000 a year each, maybe even less than that. Why would a town this small even have a police department? The entire scenario promotes corruption. These guys act like the police in Mexico.

  55. Its no where near I-10. It's 50 miles SW of Shreveport, LA and 40 miles south of I-20.

  56. There are many other law enforcement jurisdictions where a major portion of their funding comes from property confiscations related to the good ol' War on Drugs BS laws. After all the trillions of dollars spent, after all this time, after all the ineffectual laws, after sending millions of otherwise innocent people, many of them teenagers, to prison, if the gummint was serious about winning the "War on Drugs", don't you think they would by now have seen SOME progress? Of course not. It's big money.

  57. As i recall, the guy was traveling to buy a classic car, and the stipulation was cash only. But so what? It's just another gummint excuse to rob citizens. The rat's a$$#$ are dying to force everyone to use plastic. Easier to track and control the populace that way. Then Big Brother can track where you were, what you bought, for how much, and from whom.
    The fascisst dream come true. Complete surveillance and control. American Stasse at work.

  58. I think you can bet your butt that the cops are at least getting a slice of the pie, directly (payoffs) or indirectly (salary, benefits, "bonuses", rewards, etc).

  59. "The geeks shall inherit the earth." Guess they already have.

  60. Good points. I guess it isn't just me that notices our Government can't have a quick decisive victory on wars any more. The only exception was the first war to boot Iraq out of Kuwait. That was fairly quick. All the rest since I was born took decades or longer. Heck, we are still in several countries responding to 9/11. I know the guys on the ground can do the job so it must be the ones at the top that fail to lead us to quick decisive victories.

    I think if the front line solders was turned lose without having their hands tied behind their backs, it would have been over in less than a year.

    As to the drug war, they don't want to win it. They can't spend money and make careers on wars that have already been won. They also can't seize peoples money, houses, cars and all the other stuff if they put a end to it. Heck, if they wanted to win the drug war, seal the border. That alone would be half the battle. When I say seal, I mean just the bad people. I don't mind good people, workers and such, as long as we know who they are and what they are doing. If they are drug dealers, rapists, killers and such, let them stay wherever they are. We got a supply of them already.

    While I don't think legalizing it would be a good idea, not fighting it to win is a equally bad idea.

  61. AD Roberts says:

    Maybe I am missing something. When do people drive around with $50,000 and $6000 in their cars. I certainly don't I don't have more than $100 on me at any time. Like I said, I must be missing something and have for 64 years.

    Oh, yes. I am sure that the officer was acting at the instruction of the local politician or judge.