YUBA CITY (CBS13) – A Yuba City man says law enforcement confiscated his money but he didn’t commit a crime. Now he’s fighting to get back tens of thousands of dollars.

Yuba City resident Josh Gingerich buys and flips trucks.  A recent buying trip to do that cost him a bag of cash which was seized by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) drug interdiction task force at O’Hare Airport.

“A little over 29 grand,” the amount taken said Gingerich who was not arrested and did not break any laws.  “No marijuana, no drugs.”

He believes an airport TSA agent saw the money in his backpack and tipped off the DEA.

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“They take you down to a dingy basement room,” said Gingerich.  “No cameras…no nothing.”

Gingerich said he was set up by the officers who he says claimed to smell marijuana on a plastic bag filled with dirty laundry in his backpack.  He said officers dumped the clothes, filled the bag with cash, then brought it to the drug dog.

“They can just do what they want,” said Gingerich.

Within the United States, it is legal to carry cash, says Benjamin Ruddell of the ACLU.

“There’s no prohibition on carrying cash, or carrying a large amount of cash,” said Ruddell who points out what they believe is flawed with the DEA Civil Asset Forfeiture Program.

“If the purpose of this is to disrupt illegal drug activity…we’d see some of these people be arrested,” said Ruddell.

Last March, the U.S. Justice Department Inspector General released a report saying from 2007–2016, the DEA seized $3.2 billion with zero convictions tied to this money.

“It should be against the law,” said Gingerich.

Gingerich also questions whose being given this seizure power.  In his case, there was a Chicago police officer working on the DEA drug interdiction team.  The officer has at least 27 Chicago Police Department complaints. He was cleared on all but one.  Six of the 27 were for illegal searches.  He has also been sued, resulting in two settlements involving bad searches and a bad drug arrest.

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This happened to Gingerich in February, and he hired Attorney Michael Schmiege to get his money back.

“It’s not a quick and easy process.  It’s not like traffic court.  It can drag on for years,” said Schmiege.

Schmiege also says drug dogs often hit on the money.

“Most United States currency has trace amounts of narcotics on it,” said Schmiege.

Another twist is that Gingerich lives in California, where marijuana is legal.

“You’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty,” said Gingerich who wants his money back and interest too.

If Gingerich fails to get his money, it will be divided up between the federal government and local police on the task force.

The ACLU says Illinois gets $20 million to $30 million a year from these seizures.

DEA Statement: “The Asset Forfeiture Program aims to employ asset forfeiture powers in a manner that enhances public safety and security. This is accomplished by removing the proceeds of crime and other assets relied upon by criminals and their associates to perpetuate their criminal activity against our society. Asset forfeiture has the power to disrupt or dismantle criminal organizations that would continue to function if we only convicted and incarcerated specific individuals. Seizures made during the course of interdiction operations do not rely on only one fact when determining probable cause.  Multiple facts, circumstances, statements and other factors go into the decision to seize an asset.  These must be taken as a whole in order to understand the probable cause for a seizure, each of which, has a process for contesting available to them.”

Comments (38)
  1. Jim M. Ryles says:

    Good old fashion NAZI’s , using powers not given by government of the law to steal.

    1. This has been going on in America for at least 50 years. I remember a story of a man having 30,000 stolen from him by the federal government as he flew to Texas to purchase plants for his tree and flowers business.

      He never got the money back.

      Americans are spectacularly stupid people.

      1. Paul Wilson says:

        All governments are a Racket. Racketeering is supposedly illegal. A racket is when somebody claims to have a greater right over you and your stuff than you do and if you don’t give it to them, their hired men with guns will take it and put you in a cage or worse if you resist. This is a picture of the IRS and the NSA thugs, etc.

  2. This is PURE THEFT. The officers responsible for seizing money and assets without any arrests and convictions associated with it, need to be charged with a crime. PERIOD.

  3. Larry Hughes says:

    Asset forfeiture is nothing more than legalized theft, there is no difference between a thug with a gun and a thug with a gun and a badge! Stop the states and federal government from profiting from it and see how much it goes down! No charges, no crime and they must repay 10 times what they took.

  4. No conviction, no seizure. Why is that such a difficult concept.

  5. send story to our congressmen and senators, but they probably get a cut of it.

  6. Steven Bowen says:

    These clowns would fit right in at Bank of America, where employees are not apparently stealing family heirlooms out of safe deposit boxes. How does legislation get to the point where things like this are even possible? Disgusting, no wonder no one trusts the “authorities” anymore. And to add insult to injury, he got ganked by some d student TSA turd.

  7. “To Serve and Protect” became “To Harass and Collect” a long time ago.

  8. In a real court system not based strictly on how much money you have to afford a good attorney none of this would be deemed constitutional.
    As for legally carrying money try using a credit card to make your purchases. Pay the credit card off each month on a regular basis from a bank account.
    That is probably the way the drug lords have been doing things for years. As long as they do not trip the 10,000 limit or is it 9,500?
    How about mandatory drug tests for anyone in the Congress?
    How about finding a medical cure for the addiction to drugs?
    How about taking the profit out of the police department stealing money?
    Or the government stealing.
    No wonder the Mafia has a foothold in major cities.
    When a drug lord has unlimited funds and a policeman is limited to a salary then getting to the drug lord becomes almost impossible to do. It is a recipe for possible corruption of the police.
    This law is simply wrong on so many different levels.
    The way to hell is paved with good intentions as this law had originally.
    AS it is applied it gives police a bad name that will be hard for good policemen everywhere to overcome.
    Getting the stolen money back under the current system might just be impossible.

    1. They still take the money sometimes if it is less than 10k. The practice, although meant to have a good intention, again shows what happens when you give too much power to authority. Look up some of these horror stories.

  9. This is not a left or right issue. This is an American issue that most Americans whether right or left are against, but our elected leaders continue to ignore.

  10. Unconstitutional Law Powers contradicting the 4th Amendment and Due Process

  11. The agents involved need to be arrested and charged with armed robbery. The DEA needs t be abolished along with the ATF, FBI and other fascist terrorist organizations.

  12. Sam Katch says:

    This is just a ‘Money Grab’ for the US Agencies….good luck on getting the monies back….

  13. Problem #1
    He was at an airport.
    Where was he going?
    Problem #2
    Apparently he has no paper trail as to where the money came from.
    If he buys and flips trucks there should be bills of sale and transfer paperwork.
    Problem #3
    Regardless of what is legal in California, Federal law trumps.
    Especially at and airport
    Use a bank, deposit the money into an account and get a cashiers check.
    I’ve never heard of anyone being stopped and their cashiers check seized.

    1. Problem #1 – anywhere he wants. He is free right?
      Problem #2 – according to what law? Why does he have to produce that? Papers please?
      Problem #3 – He did not break any law, state or federal.

      You sound uninformed.

    2. Don’t even trust the banks! This is why cryptocurrency exists.

  14. The Law passed in the 1920’s allowed the government to limit a person to carry no more than $10,000 unless they were permitted to do so by the government. At the time it was equivalent to $1 Million today. Bluntly this law needs revisited. Honestly this man deserves his money back

  15. How can they seize the assets and yet not make an arrest???

  16. >>>> ‘A Yuba City man says law enforcement confiscated his money but he didn’t commit a crime. … Josh Gingerich buys and flips trucks. A recent buying trip to do that cost him a bag of cash which was seized by a … (DEA) drug interdiction task force at O’Hare Airport. …. “A little over 29 grand,” the amount taken said Gingerich who was not arrested and did not break any laws. “No marijuana, no drugs.” ‘ <<<<
    — Ah-ha! Josh was trying to use the old; 'Buy & Flip Trucks' ploy to cover for why he had $29,000 in filthy drug money! Well sorry kiddo, that may fly in Yuba City but not in Chicago. We have the most sharp-eyed TSA Agents at O'Hare and the most top-notch DEA Agents in the country. So nobody's gonna fall for that tired-out trick saying it the gubmint who put your ill-gotten money in a plastic bag after removing your dirty underwear from it.
    — So buck-up Cupcake, 'embrace the suck', be thankful you weren't arrested and remember to never fly to or through O'Hare Airport again with any amount of CASH, for any reason. Because Chicago gets Half of what's confiscated and Rahm Emanuel needs that money 'cause the city is dead broke and Heck, Rahm's already spent you money for buying votes. LOL.

  17. The government has far, far too much power over the individual and his property, in essentially every aspect of his life. It is the entire reason the country is in the midst of tribal warfare: everyone wants to use the coercive power of the state to force all others to comply with their demands….and the individual’s rights get trampled through it all, like the gentleman in the story.

  18. TSA agents are not exempt from Day of the Rope.

  19. Mike Giles says:

    Government (bureaucrats) have become a taxpayer-funded array of interlinked criminal organizations!! It’s that simple! As a formerly-dedicated CA democrat I’ve seen So Much Cal-Gov Criminality that I was Forced To “Awaken” from my former party’s embedded crime-producing, criminally-plundering operatives’ mind controls!!

  20. Jon Herr says:

    Maybe this story will inform those who turn to the government for solutions to their problems?
    Any government capable of providing everything for you (safety, security, welfare) is big enough to take everything from you.

    The TSA was formed to keep us “safe” after 9/11. The end result is the TSA has become another enforcement arm for a government run amok. American citizens are basically punished for 9/11 every time your are illegally screened (see 4th amendment) and your possessions searched when no crime has been committed. It’s done “for the children” but it’s really just pre-crime nonsense. You haven’t committed a crime – but you MIGHT – and that’s enough for us.

    Please think twice before pushing for “another law”. It will come back to haunt you and future generations.

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