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Meth Dealer Faces Loss of His Comic Book Collection 317

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-their-pound-of-flash dept.
cultiv8 writes "According to an article from The Smoking Gun: 'A large-scale methamphetamine dealer who allegedly laundered drug profits by purchasing valuable comic books is in danger of forfeiting his 18,753-volume collection to Uncle Sam, according to a new court filing. Federal prosecutors yesterday filed a US District Court complaint seeking ownership of the comic book holdings of Aaron Castro, 30, who is facing a May trial in Colorado on narcotics distribution and weapons charges. The comics are valued in excess of $500,000.'"
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Meth Dealer Faces Loss of His Comic Book Collection

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  • Illegal fines (Score:2, Informative)

    by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @12:28PM (#35398104)
    Forfeiture of all of one's earthly possessions is a common punishment for being suspected of a drug-related crime. It reminds me of similar [yadvashem.org] forfeitures [wikipedia.org] required [catholic-history.org.uk] in the past.
  • by orphiuchus (1146483) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @01:40PM (#35398754)

    Assuming the facts are presented correctly, what this guy was doing is simple old fashioned money laundering. He was buying something with drug money so he could later sell it and have clean money. Comic books are actually a smart way to do this, its unlikely that anyone would suspect it.

    Here's an example of how it may have worked:
    1. Dude sells $500 of meth.
    2. Dude takes the $500 cash to a comic book convention.
    3. Dude buys a comic book for ~$500
    4. Dude sells the same comic book for $450 in clean, crisp, legal bills
    5. Repeat 1-4
    6. Profit!
    7.?
    8. Prison!

  • Re:Why is this here? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Schadrach (1042952) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @01:42PM (#35398778)

    All that would take is an expansion of civil forfeiture, not even a huge one.

    Civil forfeiture is a bad, bad thing, even in concept. It's kind of hard to argue that the government should be able to confiscate arbitrary sections of your personal wealth and then sue the property (not you but the property itself which being neither a citizen nor a person has less rights than you do) and claim ownership of such if they can demonstrate that it's more likely that this property was the proceeds of some crime than that it wasn't.

    So yeah, they sue your possessions (which lack civil rights) and have a lower burden of proof since it's a civil case. Basically so that they can claim any wealth belonging to anyone accused of drug violations, and likely do so even if they are found innocent.

  • by Seumas (6865) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @02:42PM (#35399314)

    I've read enough comments here that seem to completely miss what is going on here and are completely ignorant on the abuse by our government in violating the Fourth Amendment. The assumption by everyone seems to be one of two things. Either the police are seizing property as evidence of a crime committed (in which case, you would presume it will be returned if he's found innocent) or that he has been found guilty and they're taking his ill-gotten gains.

    That is not the case.

    What they're doing is taking possession of someone's property. Someone who has not been convicted of a crime through a fair trial, yet. Then they're going to sell it and keep the profit. Does that sound right to you? Shouldn't you receive a trial and be found guilty of a crime, before paying for that crime?

    In fact, not only do you not have to be found guilty through trial of an actual crime in this country for the government to steal your property and sell it for themselves, but you don't have to even be charged with a crime, in many cases. I went looking for something to explain it to those who care to be enlightened (by what I thought was common knowledge, but by the reactions on Slashdot to this article, seems to be foreign to 80% of us). I actually found a well composed video that from the Institute for Justice

    (video 2m30s) - Policing for Profit - The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture [ij.org]

    Essentially, what has been happening for about thirty years, is that instead of charging YOU with a crime, the government charges your PROPERTY with a crime. Your property can't defend itself, so it is assumed "guilty". They take the property, sell it at auction, and then split it up among various government departments. All without YOU being convicted. Or even tried in a court of law. Or even being charged with a crime. It is currently a billion-dollar scam in this country.

    So save your "durr durr meth dealer bad!" bullshit. You aren't a hard-ass for saying "throw away the key!" or "execute this guy!" or "he deserves it!". You just look ignorant for not considering the due process we have in this country that protects people like you and me from being railroaded without evidence. Maybe the guy IS guilty. That's fine. If he's guilty, throw the book at him. The mere fact that someone has charged him with a crime doesn't mean he deserves punishment nor that he deserves to have his property stolen from him, auctioned off, and then split amongst his local government agencies.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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