War and memory
Police and prosecutors' abuse of asset forfeiture laws criticized
Published: August 3, 2011
"But wait, it's even worse," Smith adds. "After stalling the asset forfeiture proceedings for seven months ... and seeing that Tebeau was not about to roll over for them, federal prosecutors got a criminal indictment charging that Tebeau 'knowingly and intentionally profited from and made available for use, with or without compensation, said place for the purpose of unlawfully storing, distributing, or using controlled substances.'"
"This is the sort of thing Soviet thugs did and that continues to happen in Russia under Vladimir Putin," Eapen Thampy told Smith. "They take a businessman, take his money, and take him to jail. I see this as an attempt by rich and powerful law enforcement agencies to acquire property or money they can turn into salaries or equipment."
Smith points out that Missouri law enforcement agencies profit handsomely from asset forfeiture, especially when they partner with the feds. "By law, funds seized by state and local law enforcement agencies are supposed to go to the state education fund. But in 2000, and every year since, schools have gotten 2 percent, with that figure dropping to 1 percent in 2008 and 2009. Meanwhile the Justice Department and state and local cops have raked in millions of dollars, gobbling up the vast majority of funds that were supposed to go to Missouri's schools."
"That charge [against Tebeau] is complete bullshit," Thampy adds. "If they wanted to charge him with drug trafficking or drug possession, those would be appropriate charges if they could prove them. But charging him with running a drug premise says that he got this land for the sole purpose of conducting drug transactions. It would be putting it mildly to say this is an abuse of prosecutorial power."
Fellow Americans, how long will we put up with these abuses? They're conducting this piratical activity in our names, and it's been going this way for 40 years. Richard Songer beat his case in the end, and we must pray that Jimmy Tebeau is equally vindicated. Stop the War on Drugs!
*Errata - The originally posted version of this article misidentified the state as Arkansas and Eapen Thampy as an attorney.
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