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Illegal searches are all too common in East Texas

with 4 comments

From Bad Cop News feeder:

Steve Banyai
Lyford, TX on Nov. 27, 2006
Subject:
BIGGS, LD#509,#3212, ROGUE COP ON VIDEO To:”steve bonzai” ON 11/21/06, 1PM, I WAS SOUTHBOUND ON HWY 59 IN RUSKCOUNTY, TEXAS. I WAS CRUISING ON CRUSE CONTROL AT THESPEED LIMIT. I SAW THE SHERIFF ON THE SIDE OF THE ROADPULL OFF AFTER I PASSED. HE CAUGHT UP TO ME AND PUT ONHIS LIGHTS. I PULLED OVER TO SEE WHAT HE WANTED. HE SAID THE TAIL LIGHT WAS OUT ON MY TRAILER, BUT I HADNOT USED MY BRAKES UNTIL AFTER HE STOPPED ME. IQUESTIONED HIS STATEMENT THAT THE LIGHTS WERE OUT. [IBELIEVE THAT BRAKE LIGHTS ARE NOT NEEDED IN DAYLIGHT,BUT HAD TESTED MY LIGHTS THE DAY BEFORE IN MICHIGAN.]

I MADE HIM STATE AGAIN THAT HE WAS STOPPING ME BECAUSEOF BRAKE LIGHTS ON MY TRAILER.[#1- ILLEGAL STOP.]THENHE WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY I HAD. HE ASKED TOSEARCH MY CAR AND I TOLD HIM HE HAD NO RIGHT TO SEARCHMY CAR. HE FURTHER DETAINED ME SO HIS DOG COULD SNIFFMY CAR. THE DOG GAVE THE CAR A PASS UNTIL HE THREWSOMETHING [HIS GUM?] UNDER THE FRONT OF THE CAR.[#2MANUFACTURING EVIDENCE][HIS WIND-UP SHOULD BE CLEAR ONTHE VIDEO EVEN THOUGH HE WAS HIDING BEHIND MY CAR.]THE DOG WENT FOR IT UNDER THE PASSENGER SIDE FRONTTIRE. HE PUT THE DOG AWAY AND SAID THE DOG ALERTED ONMY TRUNK. HE CLAIMED THAT GAVE HIM THE RIGHT TO SEARCHMY CAR WITHOUT MY CONSENT. HE SEARCHED MY CAR AND BOATVERY CLOSELY, AS SEEN ON THE TAPE. [#3 ILLEGALLYSEARCH.]

HE ASKED ABOUT DRUGS BUT I POINTED OUT DRUGSGO FROM SOUTH TO NORTH. LATER I REALIZED HE WASLOOKING FOR MONEY. HE SHAKES ALL THE DOORS, LOOKS INALL THE NOOKS AND CRANNIES. GOES THROUGH ANTIQUES FROMMY GREAT-GRAND MOTHER, MY CLOTHES, KNAPSACK AND FRUITAND VEGETABLES. I STILL DO NOT KNOW IF HE STOLEANYTHING AS I AM NOT HOME TO UNPACK YET. HE WAS KINDENOUGH TO GIVE ME A WARNING THAT HAS ALL THEINFORMATION ON IT, [#4 FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT.]AND TOLD ME HAVE A NICE THANKSGIVING. I STOPPED IN THENEXT TOWN AT- LUNDSFORD AUTO SUPPLY AND GARAGE- TOHAVE MY LIGHTS CHECKED. THE MAN BEHIND THE COUNTERCHECKED MY LIGHTS, THEN STEPPED ON THE BRAKES SO ICOULD SEE FOR MYSELF THAT THERE WAS NO PROBLEM WITH MYLIGHTS. THEY JOKED ABOUT MY HAVING MET BARNEY, SO THISMUST HAPPEN ALL THE TIME. I WILL BE IN TOUCH WITHEVERY ATTORNEY IN THE AREA TO SEE HOW MANY PEOPLESLIVES HE HAS MESSED UP WITH HIS ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES.THERE WAS ANOTHER MALE IN THE CAR WITH HIM. HE HAD A SHERIFF’S SHIRT ON.

THEY CHECKED ME THROUGH THE SYSTEM SO IT WILL NOT BE HARD TO VERIFY MY STORY. IF THEYDESTROY THE EVIDENCE ON THE TAPE THAT IS A SIGN OFRICO ACTIVITY. THE CAR, BOAT AND TRAILER BELONG TO MY DAD AND HAVE NEVER HAD SO MUCH AS A CIGARETTE INSIDE.THE DOG TOLD HIM THAT. HE STILL WANTED TO SEARCH FORMONEY SO HE MANUFACTURED AN EXCUSE. BEING OUT-OF-STATE HE THINKS JUST NOT BEING FINED IS ENOUGH TO HAVE MEFORGET ABOUT MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. CHECK OUT THEFILM AND SEE HOW MANY LAWS HE BROKE. I WILL BE MORETHAT WILLING TO TESTIFY AT HIS TRIAL. TARGETINGOUT-OF-STATERS, I BET THE MEXICAN CONSUL WILL HAVEREPORTS OF HIS CRIMINAL ACTS. THIS REPORT WILL BE SENTTO EVERY EMAIL I CAN FIND IN RUSK COUNTY, THE DPS,RANGERS, FBI, EVERY ATTORNEY IN EVERY COUNTYSURROUNDING RUSK AND EVERY MEXICAN CONSUL IN THESTATES AND MEXICO AS WELL AS EVERY COUNTRY IN CENTRALAMERICA. I AM WILLING TO TAKE A POLYGRAPH, ANYTIMEANYWHERE. STEVE BANYAI TDL# 02454464.

Open response to Steve on Bad Cop News:

Steve, I can relate to your story you posted. I lived in East TX for 25 years and had to leave because of the systemic corruption coming out of the area. I have had friends go through the same ordeal. Sheriff Biggs, or whoever this guy is, does exactly what most of these small town cops do. There are a handful of decent folks up there, but often wonder how many truly honest ones are left. I would post your dealings with the Rusk Co. boys in other places.

The problem is there is very little initiative for the US attorney’s office, TX Rangers or FBI to reign in the redneck mafia that wear badges. They work together, in co-hoots with each other. The later provided meaningless drug busts, and the former getting Federal grant money to do as they wish.

This only skims the surface of the corruption of East Texas law enforcement. Just last year in 2006, down in Cherokee County, TX a 60 year old veteran chief of police officer was busted by out of county law enforcement for selling meth and drugs off the steps of the Troup, TX city hall.
Read at :
http://www.news8austin.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=156663

Editor’s footnote: Chief Chester Kennedy was arrested and convicted of evidence tampering. Sgt. Mark Turner was arrested and convicted for taking drugs from the police locker. Other links verify the trafficking of crystal meth in Cherokee County by others. As of March 2009, Kennedy was appealing the theft conviction.

Why does this take place, in broad daylight and under the noses of Federal prosecutors? Some conspiracists say the feds have signed off on them and given them accomodations, so it would make those districts look bad in the eyes of Congress (follow the money). That’s one theory. Here is mine— this stuff happens because these “men” enjoy violating the law everyday and every fashion they see fit.They pull people over going “southbound” even though the city limits of the rat hole town is only on the Northbound and they have no jurisdiction on the southbound lanes. So they catch you going out of town so you are outside the city limits and away from help. They tape record the calls coming from the phone booths at the local Shop-A-Lot, pretending to put a dent in the out of state drug trade; but these lowlifes are actually just getting their jollies illegally eavesdropping on the town’s populace. And they get paid to do it.

They also have no compunction about lying under oath, fabricating evidence and will even murder people for insurance money. In neighboring Cherokee County, just south down the road from Henderson, the former District Attorney named Charles Holcomb is now a sitting Justice in the highest criminal court in TX, in Austin, on the TX Court of Criminal Appeals. He convicted an innocent man back in the 1990s on a murder for hire scheme in Alto, TX. No investigation by the authorities needed after the man Holcomb convicted was freed.

There aren’t many articles dating back to the heyday of the Hwy 59 posse that got their revenue from “drug busts” and basically holding up out of state drivers. They don’t have to prove anything during a trial, the accusation is simple enough for a conviction.

Of course, officials such as Justice Charles Holcomb portray themselves now as a privacy advocate, in Holcomb’s case even ruling against his Republican Chief Justice when it comes to drug seizures. And the remainder East Texas state prosecutors like Cherokee County’s Elmer C. Beckworth, Jr. salivate over the next small town homicide to brand themselves as “victim rights advocates.” Then they top it off by misleading their colleagues in the Texas State Bar and TCDAA about their own personal involvement. Rusk County may be heavy handed in their “war on drugs,” but at least they aren’t selling drugs to undercover federal agents, like Cherokee County’s Constable Precinct 3 Randy Thompson  or raping women during traffic stops like Larry Pugh of the Jacksonville, TX police department.

As for Sheriff Biggs of Rusk County, how bad can he be? Don’t get me wrong though, these men are extremely dangerous. As a former East Texan, I am embarrassed to see the beautiful place turn into such a cesspool of drug dealing and corruption. If traveling south, I would take I45 to Huntsville and down to Houston, and totally avoid the backwoods cretins. And make sure you bring a cell phone and log in with a loved one when traveling through the area so they know where you are periodically. And lastly, of course never use a pay phone in these small towns, unless you want Constable Billy Bob Dipshit to intercept it.

Good luck, sir.
name and address withheld on private blog.

Steve Banyai return email: 
 
withheld, THANKS FOR THE INTERESTING READING. I WILL PASS IT ALONG TO ALL MY FRIENDS UP NORTH. I LIVE IN SOUTHTEXAS NOW, PORT MANSFIELD. THE RANGERS SAID THEY DONTHELP IN SUCH CASES [BIGGS]. WE ARE IN THE BOONIES, BUT THE BORDER IS JUST A DRY EAST TEXAS. COPS THERE CAN’T RESIST THE DRUGS. STEVE BANYAI

Editor’s comment:
Even the Texas Rangers turned their backs on Banyai’s request for an investigation.
Rusk County, county seat Henderson, has had its racially motivated lawsuits and firings a’la Cherokee County in recent years. 2004 news article titled “OUTGOING RUSK COUNTY SHERIFF SUED OVER INVESTIGATOR’S FIRING” illustrates the redneck and racist mentality of East Texas law enforcement. A black District Attorney was called racial epithets by former Rusk County Sheriff after refusing to violate a citizen’s civil rights.

In the posting, Steve Banyai is describing Henderson County Narcotics/K9 officer Kenneth Biggs, who in 2005 actually pulled over a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy and charged him possession of cocaine. Deputy Biggs gets his name in the police misconduct blogs for busting a Harris County deputy for crack and cocaine, then gets his name in the illegal search and seizure records.

As of late, Rusk County has seen its jailers busted with child porn, a deputy commit suicide and the FBI do internal investigations stemming from charges of corruption. Rusk County and the current Sheriff’s Department is attempting to clean house. Hopefully, Cherokee County will be next on the FBI’s and US Attorney’s office for house cleaning.

Footnote: Shelby County, TX constables and prosecutors working the Tenaha area and US 59 are facing federal lawsuits for illegal search and seizure practices. In the Eastern Texas Federal District Court, several class action and civil rights suits, such as Morrow v. City of Tenaha are being heard for the “money shakedown operation” of over 200 motorists. As KTRE reports on July 30, 2008, detained motorists were forced to sign waivers of forfeiture of their property and wallets to avoid being charged with “money laundering.” Shelby County has seized over 3 million dollars from traveling motorists over the last 2 years.

http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-txedce/case_no-2:2008cv00288/case_id-111081/

Refer to case: Morrow v. City of Tenaha Deputy City Marshal Barry Washington, et al

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4 Responses

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  1. HA! Illegal searches?…I call it ‘We need to get high so instead of buying our own, why not just go take someone elses stash’…LOL…they suck so bad! Most of them are so damn old, they cant do anything else…I hate crooked ass cops! One of my ex co-workers’ brother-in-law is a cop in East Texas. One night, we were at a party that he was at (off duty)…after he got drunk, we began asking what is done with the drugs they take in…He began to laugh and said ‘I cant say’…c’mon! They gettin higher than Cooter Brown in 26 tricycles!!

    Anonymous

    07/17/2008 at 9:14 PM

  2. http://www.valleymorningstar.com/news/banyai_23629___article.html/house_board.html

    PORT MANSFIELD – Steve Banyai says he’s fixing up his home in this tiny fishing village where he plans to live out his life.

    But last month, the Willacy County Navigation District – which owns the property – voted to evict Banyai, claiming his house is an eyesore whose condition violates a lease agreement.

    Justice of the Peace George Solis will rule on the board’s move to terminate Banyai’s lease, but a court date hasn’t been set.

    Some residents have joined Banyai in his battle to stay in his house in this village where residents lease their home sites from the navigation district.

    “It seems he’s being singled out,” Walt Kittelberger told the district’s board of directors Wednesday in a meeting.

    Kittelberger, a fishing guide who has locked horns with officials for years, led a small audience that filled the board’s meeting room in Raymondville.

    “It seems he has a lifestyle that’s not approved of,” Kittelberger told the board.

    But Mike Wilson, the district’s longtime director, said Banyai has left his home in a condition that violates his lease agreement.

    “The house was completely torn apart,” Wilson told the audience. “You can throw a rock and never hit a wall.”

    Three years ago, Banyai moved into this fishing village from Galveston, where a trailer park evicted him before landowners bulldozed the area, he said in an interview.

    After he moved into the Port Mansfield structure, he found termites in the front wall, so he tore it out, said Banyai, 53, who works as a handyman.

    Ever since, he’s been trying to fix up the house, he said.

    “I’m being picked on,” Banyai, a former shrimper and maintenance man, said of Wilson and the board. “It’s selective enforcement.”

    Outside, Banyai grows plants around the house, which is surrounded by a tall cedar fence.

    “I’m not moving,” he said. “I don’t have another move in me.”

    But Wilson said the board already has given Banyai two years or so to fix the house and clean up the yard.

    When Banyai moved into the house, “it was clean and tidy,” Wilson said in an interview.

    “That’s a mess and it’s been there a while,” Wilson said. “We’ve been fighting this for two years.

    “He needs to live in the country, not in a neighborhood.”

    Anonymous

    03/04/2009 at 7:31 AM

  3. 1-12-2010 rains county tx last friday night i pulled into drive noticing a car u turning up fm47, locked my truck headed in the house, nope. trooper pulls in drive gives me the physical drunk test along with repeated breathalizer, tells me its cool, he’s gonna gimme a warning for swerving, thats all (gee thanks) but wait, up pulls two rains sheriffs with warrant from alias ticket? they search me, find pipe so they said now we search your truck, found weed and meth so i’s told but wasn’t shown. jailed , jp says next morning plead guilty to traffic violations. (if he’s pleaing then why am i there?) bailed out, ticket had been paid two years ago and i got proof. but what now?

    C RAY

    01/13/2010 at 3:53 AM

  4. LMAO! GEE, YA THINK! GLAD THIS WAS POSTED ON MAJOR WEBSITE!…. I KNOW A FEW THINGS NOT MENTIONED HERE, THAT I WITNESSED WITH MY OWN “EYES”!….I LEFT AND WILL NEVER LIVE THERE AGAIN! GOOD LUCK MY FRIENDS IN MY NATIVE EAST TEXAS!

    Chad Baggett

    07/21/2011 at 3:56 PM


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