Stephen Clemmons, a bail bondsman from Delaware, decided to start a new chapter in his life, move to Los Angeles, and continue his work there.
In February 2017, he packed his cash savings of $14,300 in a check-in suitcase under his clothing. In a separate black Nike backpack carry-on, he had another bag with $46,000 in it.
He flew to Los Angeles International Airport where drug enforcement agents seized all $60,300, which were the lawful proceeds of Mr. Clemons’ bail bond business. The agents had no warrant, and Clemmons did not consent to the searches of his bags.
Clemmons had a label printer in his luggage that he had bought in Baltimore. He planned to print labels for his new bail bond business. The officers later admitted that their dog had “alerted” them to the brand-new printer which could not have been contaminated with the scent of a controlled substance.
The DKT Liberty Project paid for an attorney to help Mr. Clemmons get his property back, as the stop, detention, and searches of his bags all violated the Fourth Amendment. Responding quickly to the intervention, the government agreed to return all of Clemmons’s money.