The traffic stop occurred west of Nashville, along a stretch of interstate in Dickson County that's become well-known for a controversial practice known as "policing for profit."
For three years, our investigation has documented how drug interdiction agencies in that area target out-of-state drivers. Those agencies fund their operations under a state law that lets them seize cash from drivers based on the suspicion that it's drug money.
"It seems like Nazi Germany, you've got to have the paperwork and the proper authorities to come through Tennessee," said San Diego resident Ronnie Hankins.
Hankins and his wife Lisa had been on the road for days back in May, after attending a family funeral in Virginia, when they got stopped on the westbound side of I-40. It came right after they passed an interdiction agent with the 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Lisa was driving.
"I told her we are going to get pulled over," Ronnie remembered.
"What made you think he was going to stop you?" NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked.
"Because we had out-of-state license plates and my wife is Hispanic."
After separating Lisa from her husband, supposedly so he could write her a warning ticket for a traffic violation, dashcam video shows that the agent began repeatedly questioning her about what was inside the car.
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