Joseph Rivers like many young people had big dreams of traveling to Hollywood and making it big! His family believed him so much, that they raised $16,000 for him to leave his home town from Michigan and move to LA.
On April, 15, 22-year-old Rivers changed trains at the Amtrak station in Albuquerque, New Mexico with all his belongings including an envelope with $16,000 in cash given to him by his family.
Apparently, it’s routine for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) to randomly stop passengers and ask them about their destination and reason for travel while looking for drug traffickers. Rivers just happened to be the only black person on the train and of course his interrogation lasted longer than anyone else.
One of the agents went through his bag and his money was taken with the suspicion of being connected to drugs. Rivers begged them to call his mother to fully explain where this money came from. They didn’t want to hear it, and the money was officially theirs.
“These officers took everything that I had worked so hard to save and even money that was given to me by family that believed in me,” Rivers told the Journal. “I told (the DEA agents) I had no money and no means to survive in Los Angeles if they took my money. They informed me that it was my responsibility to figure out how I was going to do that.”
Rivers dreams were put on hold as he now has moved back with his parents in Michigan.
I am not sure if he is attempting to get his money back but I sure hope he gets justice because this is a horrible situation. Apparently, this treatment is nothing new because a series in The Washington Post published last year show that since 2001, $2.5 billion had been seized in cash alone from people who were never charged with a crime.
He needs a good lawyer!
BMWK, Why wasn’t that money in a checking account attached to a debit card?
Unfortunately, if he deposited in bank and needed to withdrawal $5000 or more he still would have been reported. Banks are now required to ask why/what withdrawal is for and report it to cops. (As of March 2015)
I would think you would write a check for anything that costs $5000 or more though.