When frequently passing through airports, US citizens and tourists entering the United States may have been randomly selected for a thorough search of their luggage and possessions. But as it turns out, over US$200m has been seized from tourists at airports and train stations since the early 2000s. Despite taking money from 5,2000 travellers, only two of them were actual suspects in a criminal investigation.
Federal Agents Target Cash-Carrying Citizens
Interestingly enough, US federal agents obtained the US$209m from these 5,200 travellers due to tip-offs from paid informants. While there is nothing unusual about that particular strategy, it is worrisome to see the number of “false positives”. If only two people are official suspects in criminal cases, there was no real reason to target the other 5198 people.
Particularly the DEA is building a reputation for randomly profiling people at airports and Amtrak train stations. One of the “red flags” for these federal agents is when users complete one-way travels to California, or even for paying a ticket with cash. Furthermore, people who checked luggage were scrutinised as well.