Submitted by Joe
According to Courthouse News Service, a Texas sheriff in Waco, Texas threw two Latino men into jail for 39 days “with no charges, no hearing, and no probable cause” and seized the $14,000 they had saved up to buy a new car. Roberto Moreno-Gutierrez and Jaime Moreno-Gutierrez have filed a claim in Federal Court against Hill County, the Hill County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The complaints alleges that plaintiffs Roberto Moreno-Gutierrez and Jaime Moreno-Gutierrez were traveling to a car dealership in Plano, Texas to purchase an automobile. Jaime Moreno-Gutierrez, had sold a vehicle for $9,000 and had taken a loan of $4,000 in order to buy the new vehicle. Texas State Trooper Carl R. Clary pulled the men over, driving a K-9 unit.
The complaint further details that no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found in the vehicle or on the plaintiffs. There was simply no indication of wrongdoing. Trooper Clary seized the money and waited for backup. After 20 minutes, the plaintiffs were taken to another squad car and were told they were going to be interviewed where it was quiet. The arriving officers tore apart the vehicle looking for money or drugs that did not exist.
“At the Hill County Sheriff Department, the plaintiffs were never handcuffed, never Mirandized and never told they were under arrest; rather, they were asked where they were from. The money was counted, and they were then booked into Hill County Jail for what jail documents call pending charges pursuant to ‘money laundering.'”
Stories such as these are by no means uncommon, and simply illustrate the consequences of allowing police such sweeping powers over peoples’ person and property.