A sheriff in Texas Sheriff under investigation for seizing cash from undocumented immigrants during traffic stops, The Texas Tribune reports.
According to the news outlet, Real County Sheriff Nathan Johnson is accused of regularly ordering his deputies to seize cash and vehicles from undocumented immigrants during traffic stops, even if they were not accused of any crime.
Search warrants obtained by The Tribune show that officials with the Texas Rangers and the Texas Attorney General’s Office raided four locations last month connected to the sheriff’s office and found a cache of evidence.
After the raid, Johnson admitted to the Texas Rangers that money was regularly seized from undocumented immigrants by deputies during traffic stops before the people were handed over to U.S. Border Patrol agents.
One sheriff’s deputy told investigators that “seizing currency from undocumented immigrants and the driver has been standard operating procedure for as long as he has been employed by the Real County Sheriff’s Office,” Texas Ranger Ricardo Guajardo wrote in the warrant requests.
Guajardo accused Johnson of felony-level theft by a public servant and abuse of official capacity, alleging the sheriff’s cash and vehicle seizures were in violation of the state’s relatively lenient civil asset forfeiture laws.