Rob Poggenklass *
In November 2011, a trooper from the Virginia State Police pulled over a car on Interstate 95 near Emporia, Virginia, for traffic violations. The trooper, who alleged that the driver was both traveling 86 mph in a 70 mph zone and following another vehicle too closely, never issued a citation or pressed charges against either of the two men inside the car. Instead, the trooper seized $28,500 in cash. Lawyers for Victor Guzman, the passenger in the car, had to convince a U.S. Attorney that the money consisted of cash donations to help build a church in El Salvador. Guzman and his brother-in-law, the driver, were transporting the funds to Atlanta at the church’s request when the trooper stopped them. The trooper had not accepted their attempts to explain the situation, in part because they said—honestly and accurately—that the money was not their own. Four months later, in March 2012, federal immigration authorities finally cut a $28,500 check to the church, returning the money seized by state police.