Student: CVG confiscated bag with $11k

Published: Jun. 18, 2015 at 2:44 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2015 at 10:20 AM EDT
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FOX19 - A college student says officers at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport took one of his bags containing $11,000 and did not give it back.

Charles Clarke says he was visiting family in Cincinnati when he was stopped by officers at CVG.

"They asked me if I had any money on me and I told them yes I did. And they ended up taking my money with no reason at all," said Clarke in an interview provided by the firm who is representing Clarke in a lawsuit challenging civil forfeiture.

Clarke said the reason his bag was targeted because of the scent of weed.

"They said that they had got a tip from the ticket agent that my bag smelled of marijuana and I asked them if they had searched my bag and they told me yes and they didn't find anything," said Clarke.

According to Clarke's attorney, Renee Flaherty, there is a window of to claim your money.

"They'll get a letter in the mail maybe six months later or thirty days later the time is hard to predict, and they'll get a letter from the agency saying that if they file a claim within 30 days then they're money is forfeited, they're money is gone."

Clarke says he saved the money over a five-year span from financial aid, various jobs and educational benefits based on his mother's status as a disabled veteran.

"I was in financial hardship. I had to borrow money from my family. I had to move back in with my mom. And it was tough on me because I had nothing," said Clarke.

Flaherty says Clarke was a recreational smoker at the time, but the officers did not find anything illegal in the bag. Flaherty maintains that if the government wants to keep his money, they should have to prove that Clarke committed a crime.

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