Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Road Pirates -- Assemble! "Desert Snow" is Coming to Idaho

Highway Robbery in Progress: Desert Snow-trained Iowa State Trooper Justin Simmons carries out a shakedown.

It isn’t often that honest people receive detailed intelligence about a planned gathering of violent men who steal for a living and kill with impunity. An event of that kind will occur from August 10-12th here in Idaho.

In fact, I can provide the specific address of the armed robbers’ summit -- 700 South Stratford Drive in Meridian. The location is conspicuously marked and easy to find:
It is the Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Academy, which will host a two-day session of Desert Snow’s “Phase 2015” asset forfeiture workshop

“Civil asset forfeiture,” for the mercifully uninitiated, is a procedure in which police officers and the agencies that employ them steal money and property from people who have never been convicted of a crime, and quite often never face criminal charges. The agency designates the desired property as “proceeds” of illicit activity and then files an “in rem” civil lawsuit against it – not the owner of the property, but the property itself. In this process, the burden of proof is placed on the victim, rather than the perpetrator. 

Fighting an act of state-licensed larceny of this kind is prohibitively expensive and frequently futile, which means that the privileged plunderers generally make out like the bandits they unfailingly prove themselves to be. 

Desert Snow was founded in 1989 by Joe David, a former California Highway Patrol Officer who -- rather than doing penance for his career as an armed tax-feeder -- devoted himself to the full-time promotion of undisguised road piracy. For more than a quarter-century, David has made a lucrative living as a prohibition profiteer. According to a Washington Post profile, David – who owns a yacht and a vacation condo in Cabo San Lucas -- enjoys a lifestyle many private sector crime lords would envy.

This year, Desert Snow and its companion program, Black Asphalt (a proprietary intelligence-sharing service) will conduct at least 30 regional road piracy training seminars nation-wide.

The courses include recognition of “Indicators of Criminal Activity” – or, more honestly, the art of pretending that inconsequential facts, such as the presence of an energy drink in a vehicle, are such “indicators”; “Developing Roadside Conversational Skills” – or, more accurately, how to manipulate intimidated people into submitting to an unconstitutional search;  “How and When to Seize Currency” – a course that could be digested into a single phrase, “Whenever you find it”; and “Court Testimony Instruction,” a euphemism for “How to commit perjury with composure.”

Each event will attract scores or hundreds of officers eager to develop or enhance such deplorable skills, each of whom will pay $590 to attend the highway robbers’ in-service course. When asked if the event would be accessible to the media, Desert Snow CEO Jeff David informed me that “the class is closed [except to] Law Enforcement Officers” – thereby validating the principle that squalid undertakings cannot withstand exposure to daylight.

When I asked if the Desert Snow instructors were certified law enforcement officers, Jeff David declined a direct answer, protesting  that “our words have been manipulated” by members of the media.
Kingpin: David in the 1980s....
“We are a leader in the field and have a reputation second to none,” he insisted. Desert Snow has “trained thousands of officers throughout the United States and Canada … on how to successfully and professionally find major smugglers, terrorist [sic], child abductors and other major criminals. Our success stories and results speak for themselves.”

Allowing media access to Desert Snow training, or answering detailed questions, would be tactically imprudent in light of the anti-police backlash underway on the part of an ungrateful public.

 “Law enforcement in general is under attack,” pouted David, “but sadly without these hardworking dedicated officers this country would be over run [sic].”

Iowa State Troopers Justin Simmons and Eric Vanderwiel are among the “hardworking dedicated officers” who graduated from the Desert Snow Road Pirate Finishing School. They, along with Desert Snow corporately and Joe David individually, are defendants in a civil rights lawsuit filed by William Barton Davis and John Newmerzhycky, from whom the troopers stole more than $100,000 and an Apple iPad2 during an April 15, 2013 traffic stop on I-80 in Iowa’s Poweshiek County.

As recounted in the lawsuit, the heist, which was carried out through the Desert Snow-trained Eastern Iowa Drug Interdiction Team, was a textbook application of the organization’s methods. Trooper Simmons is an experienced predator with a well-established pattern and practice of contriving excuses to stop cars with out-of-state license plates.
...Joe David today.

Davis and Newmerzhycky, who live in California, were headed to Las Vegas following a World Series of Poker competition in Joilet, Illinois. Scott locked onto the vehicle driven by Newmerzhycky and, after shadowing it for 15 miles, executed a traffic stop for a supposed failure to signal a lane change. This was a lie, of course: As the lawsuit points out, “video of the incident from Trooper Simmons’ patrol car clearly shows Newmerzhycky signaling before making the pass in the left-hand lane.”

Simmons recited his potted pretext for the stop, ran the driver’s information through dispatch, and contacted his partner in crime, Trooper Vanderwiel, who was lurking just over the horizon with his drug-detecting dog. After issuing a warning, Simmons did as he had been trained by Desert Snow. After demanding that the driver get out of the vehicle (so he couldn’t simply drive away at the end of the detention) the trooper informed the motorist that he and his passenger were “free to go” – and, affecting a casual and even friendly demeanor, insisted on asking just a “few question” before releasing his captives.

The purpose of this “Roadside Conversation” tactic is to elicit supposedly incriminating details from drivers who are ignorant of the fact that they have no legal responsibility to tell the officer anything. This also extends the traffic stop beyond its constitutionally permissible limit, allowing the officer to devise an “articulable suspicion” of criminal activity that will supposedly justify a “drug sweep” by a conveniently available K-9 handler. This charade inevitably ends with the dog “alerting” on something “suspicious,” which provides an excuse for a hands-on search of the vehicle.
Every element of this routine is patently illegal and artfully deceptive. On this occasion, as Simmons asked if Newmerzhycky was willing to wait for the K-9 handler to arrive, the driver “denied consent for the search of the vehicle and indicated … that they had been waiting long enough and that they would like to be on their way.”

As a matter of law, that ended the investigative stop. Everything from that point forward was an abduction and armed robbery devoid of even the barest pretense of legality.

Simmons forcibly detained the pair, and the familiar script unfolded. The costumed thieves found the poker money, an iPhone, a Galaxy cell phone, an iPad2, and “a grinder with residual bits of marijuana.” The currency was stolen, the vehicle impounded, and the driver and passenger taken into custody for aggressive interrogation.

At one point during the two hours that the pair spent as prisoners of the Desert Snow-tutored thieves, Newmerzhycky – who suffers from diverticulitis – asked permission to use the bathroom.

“Although Trooper Simmons reluctantly allowed Newmerzhycky to use the restroom located upstairs from the garage [where his rental car was being searched], Simmons followed [the victim] into the bathroom and rather than remaining silent … continued to interrogate Newmerzchycky while he sat in the stall,” narrates the lawsuit. “Simmons laughed and commented on the sounds Newmerzhycky made in the stall and despite the fact that Newmerzhycky asked him to leave him alone and would be done in a minute, Simmons continued to berate and laugh at Newmerzhycky.”

Newmerzhycky received a misdemeanor citation for the trace elements of marijuana on the grinder. His tormentors told him that they were keeping his cash, his cell phones, and Davis’s iPad2. On the following day, the weary and despondent men learned that their homes in California had been searched on the basis of information provided – via the Black Asphalt service – by Simmons and his comrades to their counterparts in California. The victims soon learned that their bank accounts had been frozen as well.

Ironically, on this occasion the victims were somewhat successful in challenging the illegal forfeiture. Ninety percent of the money stolen from them was returned, but one-third of that total was taken in legal fees. What remained was not enough to cover the financial impact of the seizure of their bank accounts and the other damages inflicted on them by being targeted for the Desert Snow treatment.
As a result of the police search of his home, Davis was evicted by his landlord. Newmerzhcky, who worked as artisan glass-blower, lost his business and “was forced to live in his car and rent his home to someone so [he] could continue paying the mortgage.”

The Iowa lawsuit is not the only recent scandal in which Desert Snow is implicated. In July 2013, District Attorney Joe Hicks of Oklahoma’s Caddo County reluctantly shut down an interdiction task force through which Joe David himself, and other private contractors associated with Desert Snow, were conducting traffic stops. On one occasion, David – who was wearing a sidearm -- pulled over and interrogated a pregnant woman on I-40 and interrogated her at length – despite the fact that he was not a state-certified law enforcement officer.

Hicks told The Oklahoman Newspaper that he had hired David and his prohibition privateers “because his drug task force had little success on drug stops” and because “he hoped to make money for his office from the drug stops because of a loss of federal funds.” Davis and his henchmen were allowed to keep 24 percent of everything that was stolen by the task force; at the time the program ended, Desert Snow’s take was $40,000, with another $212,000 in the pipeline with Caddo County Special Judge David Stephens shut down the racket.

As he ordered David never again to conduct “interdiction patrols” in his county, Judge Stephens told him that “if you do, I hope to see you soon, wearing orange.”

This episode probably explains why Joe David turned the reins of his criminal empire over to his son Jeff.  Desert Snow, LLC operates out of the Logan County Sheriff’s Office in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The elder David probably wants to avoid visiting his company’s home office, given the depth of his disrepute in that state.

More than 30,000 police officers nation-wide have undergone Desert Snow indoctrination.  As a self-described “Brotherhood” of modern road agents, veterans of the Desert Snow program participate in “an annual competition to honor police who seize the most contraband and cash on the highways,” observes the Washington Post. This is why officers are encouraged “to post seizure data along with photos of themselves with stacks of currency and drugs.”

The Desert Snow alum who brings in the biggest haul is crowned “Royal Knight” in an annual awards ceremony. More importantly, according to the program’s literature, the winner is “considered for an associate instructor position with the Desert Snow Training Program.” As Joe and Jeff David can testify, teaching police how to conduct seizures and confiscations, rather than carrying them out on behalf of law enforcement agencies, is where personal profits can be made.

It is quite likely that at least some of the officers who will attend the Desert Snow training session at the Idaho POST Academy in August aspire to become road piracy “consultants” once they begin collecting their tax-subsidized pensions. One unavoidable result of that event will be an escalation in Idaho law enforcement’s ongoing war against the property and liberties of anybody who uses public highways in the Gem State.

Since the event is closed to the press and public, nobody representing the productive class will be permitted to participate in the proceedings. Given the nature of the facility in which the crime summit will be held, an effort by outraged citizens to arrest the perpetrators would be pointless.

A high-profile protest during the event might produce some useful publicity, but wouldn’t be likely to shame participants into reforming themselves. People capable of decent shame wouldn’t be involved in that kind of criminal enterprise.

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Dum spiro, pugno!


Anonymous said...

maybe one day these "Crime" fighters will go after the real

CRIMINALS...the Economic Terrorists who print the currency
OWN the Media, and operate a Crack House called Congress

until then there is JUST US !!



Know the Truth about the REAL TERRORISTS !!

is Joe David..."Jewish" any chance ?



William N. Grigg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William N. Grigg said...

I have no information regarding Mr. David's ethnic and religious background. For all I know he's the last surviving Carthaginian, and an adherent of an obscure reformist sect within the Druid religion. Most of his professional disciples are probably outwardly pious nominal Christians. Whatever their religious profession, their occupation is state-licensed crime.

Joshua Cottle said...

I really value your work on this stuff. The hornbook I have about asset forfeiture really fails to show the extent of its recent abuse. I'd love to talk with you about a lengthy publication or interview on the topic, as you've done so much work on the topic.

Anonymous said...

Is Davy really Jack McManus? What's with the anti-Semite stuff?

William N. Grigg said...

That would explain a great deal.

Anonymous said...

We Americans are still on the road, still rolling along. Soon this country is going to run off the road as all fascist governments steer their citizens into the pit of hell on earth. That I'd where all of this is headed. The rule of law is no longer.

Anonymous said...

Americans near any of these "conferences/seminars" training Highwaymen should have organized protests to remind the attendees that they are being trained to STEAL from The People of this country.

Modern day Redcoats are exactly what AmeriKan LEOs have become.

William N. Grigg said...

Davy, if you want to offer a comment that is germane to the subject of the post above, you may do so. Your views of Jewish people have no rational connection to the topic of asset forfeiture and related abuse by law enforcement agencies; this is why your most recent comment was not approved.

Anonymous said...

These cops know right from wrong and I don't believe for a second that they have been brain washed into believing that wrong is right. They very well know that as cops they have reached their personal higert level of income abilities. And that they know there is little to no future outside of LE for them and their abilities. So collectively cops feed their own and each other's mind set that the citizens are scum and they hate citizens. Yes they know right from wrong, but that doesn't matter because the hate and disrespect of the average citizen makes it so, right and wrong do not apply to such people, their fellow citizens. So they go to advanced courses to learn how to break laws to steal from the citizens and get away with it. Where is there any outrage from any sector of government over this blantent and intended attacks on decent people of Idaho and beyond. Why is there not a peep coming from any sector of government over police departments being turned into criminal gangs to rob innocent citizens? There isn't any in government who care about the citizens because, those in government know that they can do as they wish because the citizens are now seen as fool and idiots not worthy of any respect or protection under law. How did we get this far many wonder. The answer in part is, the main stream media is run by the same kind of Godless people who's values are not that of the decent American citizen. And it's going to get far worse, watch and see.

Anonymous said...

Pro Libertate does a fantastic job of bringing to light the endless horrors of socialist police. Yet there is much cause for hope. Just today the great Jeffrey Tucker wrote about the alternative to socialist police in an article about free market cities springing up here and there in America. One in Atlanta called Atlantic Station is the subject of his recent article at FEE:

"Where monopolistic, tax-funded enforcement can be cruel, inflexible, and violent, the same enforcement brought about within the matrix of an exchange economy can yield results that are humane, orderly, and beautiful. The right to just walk away makes all the difference.

The implications for policing are perhaps the most interesting, given the current controversy over police abuse. When the police function is part of the market order, the phrase “to serve and protect” takes on substantive meaning. It’s this feature of public vs. private property that is decisive. "

John Washburn said...

The POST meeting seems to be an open meeting under Idaho statute; at least as explained by Idaho AG.

Anyone in Idaho near the meeting site that can attend and record this public meeting?

Anonymous said...

"Royal Knight" lol

Anonymous said...

Police dogs, that the cops bring out that always seem to hit a drug smell. Which is most always on command from their handler. These dogs live with the cop handler and the cop and the dog are good buddies. The US Supreme Court rule that the dogs are probable cause for a search once they hit. However all the dogs need to have records of every time they are brought out and it needs to be backed up with a video showing the dog and its hit. Dogs that fall under X percent are no longer probable cause. Clearly the US Supreme Court didn’t make this ruling so cops with some junk yard mix breed mutt could be on a leash and that was the reason American Citizens could have their Constitutional Rights trashed. The cops may as well take a stuff animal the cops named Billy K9 and take him out to say Billy wagged his tail. Every stinking mutt the cops have has to have a record that proves its not a cop scam used to destroy the Rights of the Citizens for a shake down. This is because people’s attorneys can not cross examine the cop dog any more than the attorney can question a stuffed animal. A proved record and if no proved record everything must be giving back with 20 percent interest and attorney’s fees paid. There needs to be come common sense injected into this outrageous scam to robbing people out on the highways that the people paid to have build and maintained

All Wrong said...

I highly doubt this will get better as long as qualified immunity exists. Thanks to this spurious (one of my favorite words, and I love that you use it regularly, Will) doctrine, you can't actually sue the cops for robbing you like you can with a thief without a badge (i.e. the honest thief can be sued but the dishonest one cannot).

Another road block to getting rid of this kind of crap is the fact that on the rare occasions that you can sue (and win) nothing comes out of these thieves' pockets. The taxpayers pay the money awarded in the suit. This does absolutely nothing to curb their behavior. If the money awarded from lawsuits were to come from the police themselves (for instance, take it from their pension fund), I promise you would see a change in behavior almost immediately.

Anonymous said...

Is that a picture of Joe David or Hank Schrader from Breaking Bad?

William N. Grigg said...

Mr. David has none of the tragic nobility displayed by Hank Schrader in his doomed commitment to a futile cause.

Anonymous said...

Great reply as always will.

Davy (anonymous?)should offer some evidence or links that support his veiws.

That way the reader may determine for himself what weight to give your proof.

Good thing we utilize our God given discernment in these maters.

Praise and thank you Holy Spirit

William N. Grigg said...

I appreciate your kindness, Anon. If a discussion of that kind takes place, I would prefer to see it occur in a comment thread devoted to that topic. :-)

Paul Bonneau said...

"However all the dogs need to have records of every time they are brought out and it needs to be backed up with a video showing the dog and its hit."

Wishful thinking. The true solution is to eliminate the drug war; then the dogs become irrelevant.

Anyway, google "Clever Hans". Try not to put so much faith in dogs or in government.

The whole thing is a scam to put a veneer of respectability on theft and looting, which is the main program of the state. A legislature creating a tax is in no way different from a Desert Snow "graduate" grabbing some cash he finds.

Anonymous said...

When I worked at the cop shop we used to call that Grand Theft.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this?