Can Dallas, Texas Police Take Your Money? What ‘Civil Asset Forfeiture’ Means
Dallas police are praising one of their K-9 officers after he sniffed out over $100,000 in cash in some luggage at Dallas Love Field last week. The canine officer, named Ballentine, is on the Dallas Love Field Interdiction squad, a unit of the Dallas Police Department’s narcotics division.
The answer: No. On a domestic flight, there is not a limit to how much cash you can carry (on international flights, the limit is $10,000). That said, you will be asked to account for a large sum of cash if it is discovered in the screening area. If you can't give a reasonable answer, or if your answer seems suspicious, your money will be taken from you, and you will have to go to court to get it back.
What Exactly Happened At the Airport?
When he got a whiff of the suspicious cargo, Ballentine alerted officials. If you're also wondering why the money by itself would cause a K-9 officer to make a fuss, dogs are trained to sniff out large amounts of cash, along with drugs and other potentially restricted items. (Not only that, but studies have shown for many years that 90 percent of U.S. bills carry traces of cocaine.)
The bag belonged to a Chicago woman on a layover at the airport. It was one strange trip she must have packed for, as her luggage only contained blankets and cash in two separate bubble envelopes.
While the owner of the suitcase was not arrested, the money was seized, and the police say it will be subject to the civil asset forfeiture process. That means that until it can be proven that the money is not involved in any kind of criminal activity, the owner cannot get it back.
My guess is that Ballentine got a few extra treats after his big bust, and a certain lady from Chicago is still trying to explain why she was carrying so much cash.