A New Mexico man passing through Canadian County in Oklahoma is accusing deputies of confiscating $140,000 in cash he had intended to make a land purchase, reports KFOR.
Thai Nang says officers pulled him over back in April for a traffic stop and repeatedly asked him if he had any money. He says when officers searched his vehicle and found the cash, they accused him of having illegal money.
“Illegal money, tell us, why is it illegal money?” Thai Nang recalls saying.
He said the deputies suspected the money would be used to make a drug purchase and confiscated it.
Records show deputies confiscated just $130,000 and is fearful the other $10,000 has been stolen.
The sheriff’s office did not return KFOR’s calls for comment.
News 4 would later track down the property owner who confirmed Nang and his business partner were trying to purchase his property.
“Why didn’t they just send somebody out to ask me like you’re asking me? I’d have told them the same thing,” said the Caddo County property owner, said who asked that his name not be made public.
The Sheriff’s Department has still not returned the station’s calls for comment.
“It was a verbal deal and they were on their way back in town to finalize it,” the property owner said. “It was $100,000 for the land and then they needed, I think, $30-40,000 to upgrade the electricity and the water for their operation. Why didn’t they just look at the bill of sale we have?”
The Institute for Justice told Reason that Oklahoman’s loose forfeiture laws are ripe for abuse.
“Canadian County, Oklahoma is a highway interdiction hotspot and this latest attempt to forfeit money belonging to out-of-state business owners appears to illustrate how easily Oklahoma’s forfeiture laws can be abused,” Institute for Justice senior attorney Dan Alban says. “In addition, there is a history of racial disparity in seizures and forfeitures in Canadian County, as well as several other populous counties in Oklahoma, and this just appears to be the latest example.”
A pre-trial hearing has been set for October.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story or making a contribution.