In May of 2011, one of my clients was stopped in Carson County for speeding. He was headed east on Interstate 40. During the course of the traffic stop, the state trooper asked for consent to search the vehicle. Consent was denied. The state trooper then called for a drug-sniffing canine to do a free-air search of the vehicle. According to the dog handler, the dog hit on the vehicle. The officers then conducted a search of the vehicle. They found a large sum of United States currency inside a backpack located on the front passenger seat. The money was wrapped with rubber bands inside a plastic zip-lock baggie.
My client was arrested and subsequently charged with money laundering. The State also filed a civil forfeiture action seeking to forfeit $32,000.00 found in the backpack.
In May of this year, the State dismissed the criminal charges and the civil forfeiture action. The $32,000.00 was returned to my client.
One factor that was favorable to my client was that he did not have a criminal history. Factors that made these cases challenging for the State were: (1) no illegal drugs were found in the vehicle; (2) the money was not wrapped in a manner to avoid detection by a drug-sniffing canine; and (3) there was no attempt to hide the money.