Kermit Warren will receive $28k of his money back a year after it was seized by DEA agents at an Ohio airport through a process known as “civil forfeiture.”
Civil forfeiture is a process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing.
Kermit lost his job as a shoe shiner at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans last year due to the pandemic, and he withdrew his life savings to buy a used tow truck to go into business with his son, hauling scrap metal.
Kermit and his son flew to Ohio to buy the truck, but when they got there they realized that the truck was not the right fit for the job.
They returned to the airport with cash in hand.
Reportedly, TSA asked Kermit about the cash and he explained the situation and they allowed him to continue on his journey back home.
But, when he got to the airport gate DEA agents approached him, questioned him, and took the cash.
According to the DEA agents, Kermit had no luggage or change of clothes, he had a one-way ticket, and he “stammered” while being questioned.
Kermit admitted that he panicked under pressure and showed the agents a badge, claiming that he was a retired police officer, but the badge truly belonged to one of his sons.
The agents used their claims to justify a civil forfeiture, they seized the money and allowed Kermit and his son to board the flight.
When they seized my life savings… every honest dollar I had worked for the last 25, 30 years, it made me feel I was the dirt on the ground.
I never knew in my whole 58 years as a man in the United States that three DEA agents could take a man’s money from him that he worked for, and not had committed any kind of crime, or was arrested for doing any type of wrongdoing
How could they just take my money from me like that?
Kermit’s lawyer, Dan Alban, had to present tax documents, call logs, and the Uber receipt showing him being picked up and taken to the airport.
The federal government ordered that Kermit’s money be returned and that the civil forfeiture be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning that it can’t be filed again.
Reportedly, Kermit is to receive his money back by Thanksgiving.
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