Sheriff's Deputy Resigns after $1 Million Seizure

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Malum Prohibitum, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    Sheriff’s deputy resigns after $1 million seizure
    January 13,2007
    Michael Barnett and Jeremy Roebuck
    Monitor Staff Writers

    An Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy resigned Tuesday after Georgia authorities found nearly $1 million hidden in his car during a routine traffic stop last week.

    Emmanuel Sanchez, 30, of Alton, has not been arrested but is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of the way the money was allegedly discovered and concealed.

    Sanchez told Georgia State Patrol troopers he found the money behind a Hooters restaurant in Atlanta, said spokesman Trooper Larry Schnall. Some of the $950,000, which troopers seized, was discovered within the doors of Sanchez’s truck.

    Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said Friday he has ordered an inquiry to determine if others in his department knew of or were involved in any wrongdoing in connection with the money found with Sanchez.

    "I have not been told that anyone else in my department is involved in this," Treviño said.

    Citing the confidentiality of personnel files, Treviño would not say if any complaints have previously been made against Sanchez, a patrol deputy who joined the department in 2001.

    "We’re going to interview his close friends, if he has any," Treviño said. "We’ll look into prior rumors, if there’s any."

    Sanchez could not be reached for comment Friday.

    Georgia troopers discovered the money in Sanchez’s Ford F-350 after he was pulled over for an unspecified "moving violation" the night of Jan. 6, Schnall said. Sanchez was driving west on Interstate 20 between Temple and Villa Rica, Ga. — about 40 miles west of Atlanta.

    "It was highly unusual for someone to have that much cash," Schnall said.

    After being stopped, Sanchez identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy and agreed to let troopers search his truck.

    During the search, authorities discovered a "stack of loose currency" inside a duffel bag in the truck’s back seat, Schnall said. Once the money had been discovered, Sanchez became confrontational and withdrew his consent for the search.

    Troopers later called a K-9 unit to the scene, and the dog alerted them to suspicious material inside the car. Under Georgia law, authorities can conduct a search if a K-9 investigation indicates suspicious circumstances, Schnall said.

    They issued a traffic warning to Sanchez and seized the money but let him go without arrest. Investigators are attempting to verify Sanchez's claims that he found the money in Atlanta, Schnall said. The former deputy could seek to have the cash returned through Georgia courts.

    Luisa Deason, a Houston-based spokeswoman for ICE, said she was "not at liberty to discuss … an ongoing investigation."

    Treviño, who has talked several times to federal and Georgia authorities, said he could not investigate Sanchez because there have been no allegations that he committed a crime in Hidalgo County. Sanchez, a patrol deputy, was not assigned to any special units.

    "This guy was not arrested. There’s no criminal allegations against him," Treviño said. "So I’m in a pickle."

    Sanchez did not give a reason for leaving and declined an exit interview when he resigned Tuesday, Treviño said. Had Sanchez not resigned, Treviño said he could have conducted an investigation into the former deputy’s conduct.

    If an investigation found evidence of improper conduct, "I was going to fire him," Treviño said. "He just beat me to the punch."

    Since Treviño took office in January 2005, at least five sheriff’s office employees have been under criminal investigation.

    In August, detention officer Pedro Longoria was arrested and fired after a Louisiana state trooper allegedly found 66 pounds of cocaine in his vehicle’s gas tank.
  2. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    Had this not been a LEO he would be charged with it being drug money.

  3. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

    Maybe not. Sometimes they just charge the money with be drug related and the owner has to go to court to prove it was not drug money.

    Louisiana was notorious for this. Mexicans in this area would drive through on there way to Mexico with the money they saved working here. They would be pulled over and the several thousand in cash that was being carried would be seized and the occupants were freed.
  4. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    I would think that the ACLU would be kicking down the court house doors to take those cases.
  5. mzmtg

    mzmtg Active Member

    "Asset Forfeiture" has been held up by many, many courts. It's here to stay until congress does something about it.

    The property is charged with the crime. Since the property is not a citizen, it has no rights.

    Yes, they really can just take your money, charge you with no crime and make you prove that they should give it back.
  6. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

    I believe you can thank the war on drugs for that.
  7. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

    Is there an echo in here? Thank you Gunstar1.

    As I said before and will say again, I believe the war on drugs has done more harm to more people than drugs have done.

    And the really sad thing is, it'll never end. People want elected officials to be tough on crime. Drug crime is an easy target...

  8. kkennett

    kkennett New Member

    Hmmmm. LEO agrees to a warrantless search of his truck with $950K inside :?: I have a better idea :idea: Sayeth you, "No thanks ossifer, am I free to go?"
  9. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    It's been drilled into my brain:

    Can I search your vehicle?

    "Officer, I do not consent to a warrantless search of my person or my vehicle. Am I free to go or otherwise detained?"
  10. gunsbillygun

    gunsbillygun Member

    let my people gooooooo lol
  11. slabertooch

    slabertooch New Member

    Sheriffs Dep. get pulled over for an unspecified "moving violation", has almost a mil in his car and consents to a vehicle search. Must have been one hell of a moving violation for another dept. to forgoe professional courtesy and search another Badge's vehicle. Although I think I recall recently a local PD getting pulled over by a State Police patrolman for speeding, local cop didn't have her light bars on.