Brad Messer Commentary
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

The Pot Car

Jose Cervantes, a Mexican, went to a U.S. federal car auction in San Diego. He bought a car that had been seized by U.S. Immigration because it was being used to transport illegals.

Mr. Cervantes bought it and drove it to Mexico.

About three months later - October of 1999 - he was going to drive back to San Diego— but he got stopped at the border. The car had 199 pounds of marijuana welded inside the bumpers. It had been there when Jose bought the car, but Immigration and the U.S. Marshals hadn't found it.

The border cops arrested Cervantes, who is a grandfather in his 60s, and tossed him in the jug for drug smuggling. Three months later, investigators confirmed that the pot was so old it had deteriorated, and had been there long before the car auction. Mr. Cervantes was let go.

Since then, our government has done nothing to help clear his name. He is now suing the government for selling him the pot car and then arresting him for being in it. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that the suit may proceed. The ruling said that the government "thumbs its nose at its obligation to see that justice is done."

We teach our kids to apologize when it's the right thing to do. Our children have better manners than the government, in the case of Jose's Pot Car.

Brad Messer, commentary, KTSA.


Reuters 6/2/03
Man to sue over marijuana car

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