Posts filed under ‘Legal’

Questionable Traffic Stop in Kimball County, Nebraska

In the January 14 edition of the Omaha World-Herald, Elizabeth Ahlin covered a story about a traffic stop in Kimball County.  The article, “Kimball County Seizes $69,040 in Traffic Stop”, tells a story that just doesn’t add up to me.  Below is the article verbatim:

Christmas came early last year for a new Kimball County Sheriff’s deputy.
 Deputy Chris Engel, 25, had been on the job just two weeks when a routine traffic stop Dec. 20 turned into the biggest cash seizure the Nebraska County has ever seen. Engel pulled over a Salt Lake City, Utah, resident whom he suspected of speeding on Interstate 80 near the town of Kimball.

The driver’s story didn’t add up, Engel said, so he did a little more investigating. In the end, $69,040 in cash was taken from the car. Officials suspect the money is connected to a drug-trafficking operation, he said.

The driver was not arrested — or even ticketed for going 10 mph over the 75 mph speed limit. (He was warned.) But the investigation is ongoing, Engel said. The Nebraska State Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Agency are assisting in the investigation.

It was the first big cash seizure Kimball County has seen, said Sheriff Tim Hanson. With Interstate 80 running through the Panhandle County, he believes there are ample opportunities to make a dent in drug operations. But in such a sparsely populated county with few resources, it has been difficult to devote deputies’ time to patrolling the Interstate, he said.

“Chris is a very aggressive young deputy,” Hanson said.

Investigators don’t know if they will be able to connect the money to a drug operation, Hanson said, but the important work already has been done.

“The big thing is he grabbed 69 (thousand dollars) and took it away from them,” Hanson said of the money seized. “That’s going right straight to the heart of the matter.”

All of the facts of this story may not be present in the article, but if they are, it appears the Kimball County Sheriff’s department should be prosecuted for theft.  The driver was pulled over on a “suspicion” of speeding and was given no ticket.  However, the deputy took $69,040 from the car.  They suspect the money is connected to drug-trafficking, but they have no proof or any idea if it can be connected.  It appears the driver’s Constitutional rights have been violated and the money should not have been taken.  This may be a case of literal highway robbery. 


January 15, 2008 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

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