A sign with a DEA badge marks the entrance to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum in Arlington, Virginia, August 8, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
In April of this year, two Drug Enforcement Administration task force members stopped a man named Issa Serieh at Los Angeles International Airport, asked him some questions, and seized $30,750 in cash off of him. They sent him on his way without charging him with a crime.
The task force members “were in a LAX terminal gate monitoring passengers arriving on American Airlines flight number 2220 which had traveled from Chicago,” according to a complaint filed last month at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. And why were they monitoring that particular gate? Because “Chicago is a known consumer city for narcotics and Los Angeles is a known source city where narcotics can be purchased,” the complaint explains.
U.S. District Court Complaint, “United States of America v. $30,750 in U.S. Currency”
That fact, plus the fact that the Serieh exited the plane with “a small backpack over his shoulder,” are the only reasons given for why the agents initiated the encounter that would lead to over $30,000 in cash being taken from Serieh.
We don’t know whether Serieh was carrying the cash as part of a series of drug transactions. Earlier this year, he was arrested in Nebraska for driving one of two cars that police officers found 128 pounds of marijuana in.
But the DEA task force members didn’t know this when they stopped him in Los Angeles. The complaint states they identified him as Issa Serieh later, during their questioning. The only reasons they give for initial suspicion are the backpack, …read more