WINNEMUCCA, Nev — Humboldt County Sheriff Ed Kilgore defended the I-80 cash confiscations by his team who stop out-of-state motorists on I-80 and confiscate their cash saying that it is allowed under the law.
Kilgore is under fire after two criminal complaints about the I-80 cash confiscations have been filed against Northern Nevada sheriff’s deputy Lee Dove that accused Dove of illegally pulling them over, illegally searching their vehicles and illegally confiscating their cash.
The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program allows for the seizure and forfeiture of assets that represent the proceeds of, or were used to facilitate federal crimes and is frequently used to confiscate assets for those involved in the drug trade.
Humboldt County is accused of exploiting a loophole in the law which simply states that they have to suspect that the money is being used for illegal purposes. even if it is later determined that there was no illegal activity that had taken place.
The Humboldt Country Sheriff’s Office has profited handsomely from the controversial practice of the I-80 cash confiscations and the Sheriff is not backing off. He stands by his men and if they simply suspect that they money will be used illegally, they apparently will continue their practice of I-80 cash confiscations and proudly post photographs on their Facebook page bragging about how much money they have seized.
In the two complaints filed both men were driving through Winnemucca with out-of-state license plates and tell a similar tale of being pulled over and being forced to submit to search of their automobile and personal belongings. They also said that their cash was confiscated and that they were threatened with other legal actions if they did not simply sign the forms giving up the cash and leave.
Although they may be possibly protected by current laws supporting their practice of I-80 cash confiscations, provided that their initial reason to pull over a motorist was legal, many view the “Old West” mentality of the rural Nevada town as very troublesome and believe that there may be many more victims who have been pulled over and subjected to I-80 cash confiscations by a greedy, power-happy rural law enforcement agency who wants to purchase expensive items for their department on someone else’s dime.
There are even reports posted online of individuals being asked if they had money on their debit card when being pulled over on I-80.
Travelers on I-80, particularly out-of-state travelers, need to understand that if they are pulled over in Humboldt County and have cash on them, or a debit card with cash available, that they may become a victim of I-80 cash confiscations.
They may be forced to sign over all of their cash and perhaps even taken to a bank to empty their account.
This can occur even if the motorist has done nothing illegal, simply because a small town sheriff and his staff “suspects,” or says that they suspect, that the money may be used for illegal reasons.