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carry a large amount of cash,” he said. Gerald Goldstein, a San Antonio lawyer who handles asset forfeiture and civil liberties cases, said law enforcement officers have come to rely on a “drug courier” profile, as described in federal court cases and approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989: These guidelines include: arrival from or departure to an identified drugsource city; carrying little or no baggage or several empty suitcases; an unusual itinerary, such as a rapid turnaround time for a lengthy airplane trip; use of an alias; carrying unusually large amounts of money; purchasing airline tickets with a large amount of small-denomination bills; and unusual nervousness. “Secondary characteristics” include use of public transportation, such as taxis, in departing from the airport, immediately making a telephone call after deplaning, leaving a false call-back telephone number with the airline or frequent travel to drug-source or destination cities. But Goldstein said agents can use those characteristics to legitimize their hunches to stop virtually any traveller, allowing what he called a strong potential for abuse. Probable Cause Hairdos? Greg Gladden, a Houston lawyer, said he has represented more than 50 people stopped by Houston police and drug task force members at Houston airports and bus stations for what in some cases amounted to little more than “probable cause hairdos,” such as dreadlocks. “It’s pretty hard to walk through the airport and not get stopped if you’re of Jamaican heritage,” Gladden said. For minorities, he said, “If you have a lot of money on you and no drugs, yoti’re not going to get past the police with it. They’re going to take it.” Lentini of the DEA denied that minorities are routinely stopped. The decision to stop is based on “an individual’s actions, not by the color of his skin,” the agent said. “We also stop white businessmen in three-piece suits,” he said, although the agency does not record the races of individuals stopped. Based on his experience, Gladden said it appears to be standard operating procedure for Houston police to stop people based on racial characteristics. “They’ll say he was nervous, he was going from Houston, a known drug-source city, to New York, a known distribution city, or vice versa,” Gladden said of the reasons used to justify a search. “I don’t ever hear about white folks getting stopped and relieved of their money at airports, but a whole lot of Jamaicans do, and it’s not because white folks are not wandering around with a whole lot of cash. Occasionally it will happen, but it’s usually the result of a tip.” Gladden said many of the people he represents are Jamaicans who have confidence in neither police nor banks. “There really are a lot of people a lot of immigrants especially who keep money at home, in shoe boxes and coffee cans,” he said. He also said he sus Three Decades of the JFK Assassination Inquiry Observed A compilation of articles originally published in the Texas Observer on President John F. Kennedy and his assassination. Over 90 pages of investigative reports you won’t find anywhere else, by such authors as Ronnie Dugger, Earl Goltz, and Sylvia Meagher. Read how the Observer covered the seminal event of the last 30 years. To order, send a check or money order for $12.00 plus $2.00 shipping and handling, to The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th, Austin, TX 78701. pects many people = c4ticularly undocumented aliens who are prone to carry cash never even try to get the money back. Gary Trichter, a Houston lawyer, said he has represented approximately a dozen clients whose money was seized. “They are disproportionately younger 40 and below and they are male and either a minority Hispanic or black or a Caucasian with long hair or facial hair,” he said. He also said Houston police seem to target people on flights to or from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. “In effect, they are saying that everybody in Miami is more likely to deal in controlled substances than anybody from Wichita,” he said. “If you have an accent Jamaican or Hispanic or if you have an Hispanic surname, there is a greater probability you will be targeted.” In the Austin airport case, Kelly, who has a degree in criminal justice from St. Edwards University, said he was so upset by the stop that he conducted his own investigation and was told by airport employees that police seemed to target blacks and Hispanics. A white friend hung around the airport wearing the same outfit a few days later but was not stopped, Kelly said. Police got no windfall froM Kelly, since he only had $6 on him, but with the Austin-based Texas Civil Rights Project he filed suit in Travis County Court-at-law under the Equal Rights Amendment of the state constitution, seeking $20,000 damages for himself, $5,000 in punitive damages from the police and an injunction to end searches based upon drug courier profiles. Austin city officials defended the actions of the officers. “As far as we’ve been able to tell, this was done properly,” said Deputy City Attorney Charles Griffith. Police use the DEA profile, he said, and racial characteristics “are not” a part of that profile. Airport task force members seized and turned over to the DEA $327,670 in 11 cases during calendar year 1990, including at least one case where police seized $133,000 from a white couple, and $121,457 in 14 cases through Sept. 13, Assistant City Attorney Pat Rehmet said. In the case of Belcher, the Pittsburgh Press reported the owner of four oil-change outlets in Detroit explained that he was carrying the cash to buy classic cars at auction. The money was seized in part because drug-sniffing dogs reacted to the money. But the newspaper also reported that random tests of currency in 11 cities, including Austin and Dallas, showed 96 percent of the bills tested positive for traces of cocaine. The newspaper also noted that trainers ‘have testified that drug-scenting dogs can react to clothing, containers or cars months after marijuana has been removed. In the case of Hylton, the newspaper reported that police seized all but $10 of the $39,110 they found in her purse, despite her explanation that the money came from an insurance settlement and her life’s savings and that she planned to buy a house in Houston. The Press reported that it verified her jobs, substantiated her claim that she received $18,000 from an insurance settlement and found no criminal record for her in New York City. Nevertheless, she has yet to recover the money, according to the Press. The newspaper, after reviewing 25,000 seizures made by the DEA across the nation, said it found 510 cases where innocent people, or those possessing a small amount of drugs, lost their possessions to police, including some where property was used by others for drug cultivation and trafficking. Eighty percent of the people’ who lost property to the federal government were never charged with a crime, the Press said. And most of the seized items were not “luxurious playthings of drug barons,” but modest homes, cars and savings of ordinary people. But the seizures add up to big money, and the prospect of sharing the proceeds from forfeitures gives local and state law enforcement agencies an incentive to step up their operations \(See “Have Badge, in drug-related assets was seized by 50 regional drug task forces in 10 NOVEMBER 29, 1991