“Cold Consent” is the term for a legal loophole which allows law enforcement agents to shakedown innocent citizens in airports and other forms of mass transportation. They can also take money from you even if there is no evidence of crime. The DEA has been using this tactic to seize millions of dollars every single year.
The searches and seizures are technically legal, but that’s because the DEA essentially tricks people into consenting to their search. The DEA has been staking out various transportation destinations and profiling people who could be drug traffickers. Many travellers are normally too preoccupied with trying to get to where they need to go so when they are approached by an agent, they consent without first asking if they have a warrant. The DEA have the power to conduct these searches based on no particular behavior, so it seems as though there is no set criteria you need to meet in order to get searched.
These searches could easily pose as a civil threat and plenty of complaints have been filed against the DEA over this procedure. Some people have even called the DEA’s methods humiliating and aggressive. A woman complained recently, saying that the investigation was done improperly and unprofessionally, and says agents steal $8,000 from her bag. Agents said that the woman was acting nervous and that she exhibited certain characteristics that raised the suspicion that she might be trafficking narcotics. The DEA have also stated that a drug dog lead them to the cash, which may have been drug money.