Another criminal act by our government.
Rustem Kazazi, an American citizen, was just trying to get on a plane to return to his native Albania last October, from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. He was initially flying to Newark where he’d catch a connection to Albania.
He hoped while in Albania for a few months to do some repair work on a home he still owned there, and possibly to look for another home for his family in his old age. Given facts about the Albanian banking and finance system and the advantages of cash there, he chose to turn his life savings into U.S. dollars and bring them with him to cover expenses related to the above house needs and his long stay rather than deal with bank transfers or anything of the sort.
At an American airport, he was the victim of desperadoes who took everything he had.
Kazazi ran his carry-on luggage through the x-ray machine, like we all must. In that luggage was his life savings in cash, $58,100. There was zero attempt to be clandestine or smuggle-y about it. It was divided into three labeled and marked stacks of $100 bills, all in one envelope with $58,100 written on the outside.
TSA agents noticed the money. Hard not to, I guess. They called Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) on Kazazi, who took him off to a private room to grill him, as well as strip him naked for a search for, what? money he did not label openly in his carry-on luggage?
While his English is poor and he couldn’t quite understand the agents, they refused him either an interpreter or to summon family for help.
They kept his money, without telling him why, then tried to get him to just get on his flight without it. The receipt they handed him made no reference to the specific amount they’d confiscated. When he refused initially to just go on with his day as if he hadn’t just suffered a horrible crime, they escorted him out of the airport. He contacted his wife in shock and she assured him it must all be some mistake and encouraged him to go forward with his travel plans.
In December CBP finally formally informed him via a “Notice of Seizure” that they’d taken $57,330 from him, $770 less than he insists was actually taken. The Kazazis filed all the officially required forms and notices to proceed with trying to get their money back before the legal deadline (after some complications involving confusing deadlines provided by CBP, and including the $770 the CBP seemed to deny it had even stolen). CBP agents tried to finagle the Kazazis into withdrawing their demand for federal court action, but failed.
Read the rest.
American Brazenly Robbed of $58,100 Life Savings by Federal Agents at Cleveland Airport
Asset Forfeiture Rustem Kazazi, an American citizen, was just trying to get on a plane to return to his native Albania last October, from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. He was initially flying to Newark where he’d catch a connection to Albania.