Drug money seized

Published 12:09am Friday, February 3, 2012

NATCHEZ — A traffic stop in Natchez Wednesday night ended with the seizure of more than $90,000 in suspected drug money.

A Natchez Police officer made a traffic stop on an 18-wheeler hauling cars at approximately 8 p.m. The traffic stop was initiated because the truck’s trailer had a light out, but when the officer noticed that one of the vehicles was older and more beaten up than the other cars being hauled, he became suspicious and notified Metro Narcotics, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

“This (vehicle) was older, it didn’t fit in with what (the driver) was carrying,” he said. “It looked out of place, and intelligence we have gotten lately has been that drug dealers are using this type of vehicle to transport drugs and money.”

When Metro Narcotics arrived on the scene, a drug dog located a hidden compartment under the vehicle. The supposed smugglers had removed part of the vehicle’s gas tank and replaced it with a hydraulically-operated box in which contraband could be hidden.

Inside was $90,530 in $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills, bound with black duct tape in four bundles. The driver of the 18-wheeler disavowed any knowledge of the money, signed a waiver and was released, Mayfield said.

The truck was bound for Houston, an area the sheriff said is a center for interstate drug activity.

The district attorney’s office has been notified and will soon begin forfeiture proceedings for the cash, Mayfield said.

“Per the inter-local agreement (that created Metro Narcotics), if the money is forfieted, the district attorney’s office will get a percentage and Metro Narcotics will get the rest,” he said.

“We want the drug dealers to pay for the war on drugs, not the taxpayers.”

“This will certainly be a shot in the arm for Metro Narcotics.”

Interim Natchez Police Chief Danny White said such seizures are possible when local agencies work together.

“We want to take the drugs off the streets, and if we want to make the drug dealers pay for it, this will help,” he said.

The driver of the 18-wheeler was cited for having an out-of-operation trailer light.

  • Anonymous

    Only a thug would think that a ghetto-mobile would be perfectly camoflaged on a truck transport with other vehicles.

    Great job, now lets go after more drug money….our local government is spending like drunken sailers.

  • Anonymous

    I was not aware that it was illegal to possess $90,530.  I’m still trying to figure out exactly what law was broken.

  • Anonymous

    That will be answered when the owner fails to show up and request a refund.  The bigger issue is the theft that occurred when the money will be divided between the DA and Metro rather than being turned over to the county/city general fund.  We pay these peoples salaries and operating expenses and let them rip off the public for bonus money.This is not much different than the pay scheme for some other elected positions, e.g. circuit clerk who takes a percentage of his offices income as salary then turns balance over to county and/or city (or not).  We the taxpayers get the short end of the stick when times are tough and these situations get the windfalls.  Add LEL Lillie and her seizing drug fines for her pet drug court project and we have rampant crime right in our own courthouse! The next debacle will be giving Justice Court back all the delinquent fines they can collect!

  • Anonymous

    Read my other reply to Crak, this money isn’t going back to the government as we know it.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard there is a red flag for money laundering on all cash amounts of $10,000 and up…The ‘mules’ usually claim no knowledge, of course, and the seizures then become even easier to effect.

  • Anonymous

    So it is “guilty until proven innocent”, then?  One of our foundational civil rights is that we are assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  This flies completely counter to that.  Here, someone has to show and prove their innocence in order to get their money back, minus the lawyer’s cut, of course.  This should anger people.  The police have carte blanche to steal.

    I was not aware that it was OK to steal from someone as long as it is assumed the individual engaged in some criminal activity.  I also find it intellectually insulting, given that we’ve spent well over a trillion taxpayer dollars on the WoD, reading that they want to drug dealers to pay for the utter failure that is the war on drugs.

  • Anonymous

    No, there was probable cause when the officer had advance instruction to be on the lookout for similar situations, had the cause for the reasonable stop – DOT requires that ALL lights be in working order on commercial vehicles, and the metro search found the dough in a concealed compartment that the driver apparently knew nothing about, ergo they let him go with the light ticket.  If the rightful owner comes forward, I’m sure Chuck and Ronnie will not have spent it all by then.  They could have put an Assistant Driver on the truck to be present when the owner claimed the car. Due to the unconventional method of transport rather than bank transfer or courier, I’m good with it.  The rightful owner can reclaim if it is legal, minor inconvenience

  • Anonymous

    I hope you don’t expect honesty and fair-play from people who use their position of authority to steal money.

  • Anonymous

    A wonder dog that can now sniff out money…. no drugs?  just money?

  • Anonymous

    The Transporter is going to answer to some one……

  • Anonymous

    So guilty until proven innocent, then.  I’m not questioning the stop but I do question the search.  Never mind the search of someone else’s property without a warrant.  I find the “probable cause” argument lacking as “one car was older” is not probable cause for anything.  If it is, then anyone the cops deem “out of place” in a nice car or house can be searched without a warrant.

    Even if the “probable cause” argument is valid, and I do not think it is, seizing cash, which is 100% legal, is nothing short of thievery.

    It really saddens me that so many support the new narco-police state in which we live.

  • Anonymous

    Another great job by NATCHEZ POLICE DEPAERTMENT thanks for being out there. why dosent the Police Deptment get a piece of the money? They do new equipment not the DA or METRO NARC.

  • Anonymous

    Why was the driver released? Where was the driver taking that one vehicle? Does the driver work for him self? The list goes on.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Sheriff Department put your order in on your Tahoes and whatever else you earned it so anny down the drug money!!!

  • Anonymous

    NPD made the stop and called metro narcotics.

  • Anonymous

    did the trucker continue on to his destination and was he spied upon to secure info on who the recipients of the cars and money were?  

    with all of the drugs and money that i have read of being seized, taxpayers should be compensated in major ways.  drug treatment centers should not be just for the rich or insured.  all costs for this pretense war should be covered by all money and merchandise seized.
    this doesn’t seem to be a case that will stand up in court with no witnesses and and no truck and no trucker. 
    i wish i found it, i’d keep it.  remember, finders keepers, losers weepers.

  • Anonymous

    Have you seen along interstates the carload of hispanics that have been pulled over and their belongings scattered all over the shoulder of the road while the police are searching their vehicle?  That is much more invasive than this one was and I’m sure those stops do not include a search warrant also.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, it was stolen from the taxpayers by the DA and Metro if the money is not claimed by a rightful owner. It hasn’t been stolen from the “owner” yet, it has been impounded.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Don’t Matter let NPD do the same!!

    In a message dated 2/3/2012 8:50:45 A.M. Central Standard Time, writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    oldsouthgent wrote, in response to khakirat:
    NPD made the stop and called metro narcotics.

    _Link to comment_ (http://disq.us/5al9mc)

  • Anonymous

    Agreed.  Wrong is wrong.  “Probable cause” has become “possible cause”, if not carte blanche.

  • Anonymous

    The driver of the truck was driving for a legitimate transport company that hauls cars to different destinations, The transport truck was hauling several cars at the time, plus the getto mobile. The K-9 officer noticed the rear lights not working on the 18-wheeler and made his stop. The K-9 officer used his dog to walk around the suspicious vehicle which was easy as the vehicle was already off the ground. The dog smelled the odor of narcotics coming from the gas tank! This vehicle had a secret compartment inside the gas tank to haul drugs back and fourth. Don’t be naive as to drug trafficking, this vehicle hauled the drugs to its location and the buyer was sending the money back. There is no telling how many trips this vehicle has made. Good work NPD and it’s canine Arco.

  • Anonymous

    I think the truck was going to Nashville.  What needs to stand up in court?  All the rightful owner has to do to reclaim his money is to go before LEL Lillie and explain how many drugs they sold to acquire that amount of money, then walk!

  • Anonymous

    Does matter, credit due to the department which initiated the stop.  Thanks, NPD for being alert to the situation. Chuck and crew still busy working on the Linden Drive murder.

  • Anonymous

    Potato, Potatoe.  Same thing.  This is a 4th Amendment issue.   It is not illegal to possess $90K in cash so “impounded” equals “theft”.  We have just about been lawyered out of the 2nd, 4th and 10th amendments.

    I have had a car delivered to me via car carrier.  It was not a nice vehicle but I planned to restore it.  Upon delivery, I noticed a Ferrari, a Corvette and a Mercedes coupe on the carrier.  My car was nowhere near in that league.  I find it appalling that simply because my car wasn’t as nice as those others on the carrier that my property could be searched without a warrant and impounded even though no criminal activity was apparent.  I assure you it would have been much more than a small inconvenience for me to get a lawyer, travel out of state and prove my innocence.  We DO NOT prove our innocence in this country, the burden is on the state to prove guilt.  Simply possessing “too much” cash is not a crime nor should it be.

  • Anonymous

    So if I statsh a large amount of money underneath my mattress in my home or pack it in the car seat fabric…..it’s suspected drug money. 
    But if I deposit a large amount of money over a period of time in a bank….I am not suspect?  
    I don’t get this….no drugs were found.

  • Ham Bone

    I’m sure if they wouldn’t have found drug money in the car, it would have went on to its intended destination

  • Anonymous

    A donation to lel’s youth drug court thingie would be appropriate in this instance I would think also.

  • Anonymous

    The 4th was thrown down and stomped on when president chainie, his boy busch, et.al. passed the patriot gestapo act. 

  • Anonymous

    Understood but there should have never been a search to begin with.  When a car on a car carrier that is not as nice as the other cars is considered “probable cause” then pretty much anything can be interpreted that way.  Again, simply possessing “too much” cash is not a crime.  They took perfectly legal property from a privately owned conveyance without a warrant.  That is thievery. They can suspect it was drug money all day long.  That does not change the due process laws of this nation. 

  • Anonymous

    What I’m finding is that if people even so much as suspect that you engage in a behavior of which they do not approve, they don’t give a spit about your civil rights.

  • Anonymous

    If y’all google up “Possession of cash in excess of $10,000″, you’ll find plenty of references to state and federal law dealing with money laundering and tax liabilities…That’s how they are able to sieze these huge amounts of cash without finding any illegal drugs.

  • Anonymous

    The NPD needs to set up there own drug team.

  • Ham Bone

    Take your tin foil helmet off for a minute.  If they were legally transporting cash, it would be in the cab of the truck, not in a hidden compartment where the gas tank should be.  Be thankful that the NPD had the sense to use the information that had been passed along, and look into the situation.  The NPD isn’t stopping every car and looking into it, only the ones that fit the profiles of suspected drug trafficers.   The NPD acted on clues that had been given to them, and thanks to that information $90K of drug money is off the street

  • Anonymous

    I think Metro is made up of city and county officers, plus some from Vidalia/Concordia.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry but the War on (some) Drugs predates the Patriot Act by some 30 years.

  • Anonymous

    No tinfoil necessary.  There is no illegal way to transport cash as cash is not illegal.  Still looking for a crime here.  All I see is an illegal search and seizure and stolen $90K.

    Due process, Ham Bone.  There are rules the police have to go by to ensure that people’s rights are not violated.  The assuption here is that money was drug money.  What does that mean, exactly?  That it was made through the sale of drugs?  We have absolutely no way of knowing that.  It could have been payment for drugs not yet received and in that case it is not yet drug money as no transaction has taken place yet.  Has any intent been proven?  No.  By that logic, any known drug dealer can be robbed of his cash at any time by police because he MAY use it to buy drugs.

    There is an assumption of guilt being made by police and they are placing the burden of proof on the individual.  That IS NOT how our system is supposed to work.  The burden of proof lies on the state as we are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  This is not tinfoil hat material by a long shot.

  • Anonymous

    I know when the “war on drugs” began. It is still wasting billions to no avail. That has nothing to do with chainie’s NSA listening to my phone conversations, reading my emails, or posting on this rags stories. 

  • Anonymous

    If y’all google up “Possession of cash in excess of $10,000″, you’ll find plenty of references to state and federal law dealing with money laundering and tax liabilities…That’s how they are able to sieze these huge amounts of cash without finding any illegal drugs. 

  • Ham Bone

    No rights violated.  The NPD acted on a tip that drug money is being trafficed in a car that doesn’t necessarily match the others on the trailer (one of these is unlike the other).  The officer had every right to stop the truck for improper equipment, or whatever they call a light being out.  When the officer noticed a vehicle not matching the others on the trailer, he relied on his tips and called for a dog to come in. After finding the money, the driver was questioned, since he was in possession of the money, and he denied any knowledge of it. I’m sure it wasn’t on the manifest or any other documents to go along with the car. If the money was legal, there would have been a description of it on the paper work. I’m sure that if the rightful owners of the cash come forward and explain why they were transporting money in the gas tank of a car, of which no one knew about, Metro will be happy to return it.

    It’s not like they pulled granny over and took the cash out of her wallet because she couldn’t prove where it came from. It was 90 fricking thousand dollars, in a gas tank.

  • Anonymous

    I tried to explain to you in an earlier post but here it is in black and white. The truck was legally stopped for an equipment violation. Valid in all 50 states. A suspicious vehicle was seen on the tranport truck. The police used a trained narcotics detecting dog to walk around the entire transport truck. The dog alerted (smelled) to an odor that he has been trained to detect. The dog followed the smell back to the suspect vehicle leading to the gas tank area. (reasonal suspicion as defined by US Supreme Court.) The officer then observed that the gas tank had been altered, (probable cause). A search warrant was then obtained to search the vehicle. The vehicle was found to have a secret compartment built into the gas tank which was electronically controlled. The money was bundled up and wrapped in layers of tape. The compartment had been used previously to conceal narcotics which explains the detection by the trained narcotics dog. (Supreme Court has ruled on the legality of such searches). This vehicle was used to transport narcotics and the cash from narcotic sales. GOOD JOB NATCHEZ PD…..

  • Anonymous

    Um, It’s Obama’s NSA now. 

  • Anonymous

    I understand the truck was legally stopped.  Where you lose me is “suspicious vehicle”.  That phrase can be used for any situation and is not in keeping with the 4th Amendment.

    “This vehicle was used to transport narcotics and the cash from narcotic sales.”

    So, clairvoyantly assumed guilty until proven innocent then.  Gotcha.  No due process.  Gotcha.  

    Please tell me again what law was actually broken.  I don’t want to hear fantasy stories about what laws MAY have been broken at some point in time.  I don’t want off-the-cuff guesses about what the cash COULD HAVE been used for or COULD BE used for.  I want to know what law was actually broken that entitled those officers to steal $90 grand.

  • Anonymous

    “I’m sure that if the rightful owners of the cash come forward and explain why they were transporting money in the gas tank of a car, of which no one knew about, Metro will be happy to return it.”
    And I’m sure that is not how due process works in this country.  We are innocent until proven guilty, not vice-versa.  Nobody has to prove their innocence in this country, the state is compelled to prove their guilt.  That car is somebody’s private property so by extension the money in it is someone’s private property.  Since there was no crime, the police stole that money.

  • Anonymous

    Only in America. A carlight out, pulled over, searched without probable cause and if $10,000 or more is found taken by the police, guilty until proven innocent. If you want to drive home, to say Houston or LA, hire a lawyer, return to Natchez, book a room for a few weeks, go to court to prove the money isn’t drug related, you get it back. OK, $90,000 could be drug money. The capture or it still is an outright violation of the Constitution. But hey, as long as they aren’t confiscating firearms to heck with the Constitution. Marijuana; legalize it, regulate it and then tax the heck out of it. We spend more on prisons than any country on earth.

  • Ham Bone

    Then why arrest anyone? Why keep them in jail until they can post bond? I mean we have to assume someone to be innocent until being proved guilty, so how can we hold someone in custody until their trial? Metro is mearly “holding” the money until someone comes forward to testify on its behalf. 

  • Anonymous

    Probably still doing its thing like in the past.  What years was Cheney President?

  • Anonymous

    Per Crak below: “There is no illegal way to transport cash as cash is not illegal”.

    I don’t think you want to get caught taking more than $10k traveling interntionally.  You will then have more than NPD and LEL Lillie to contend with.

  • Anonymous

    “The NPD needs to set up there own drug team”

    Er….um…the word is “their”…as in the possessive of they. Glad to see that Alcorn State education wasn’t wasted.

  • Anonymous

    Think he said before he went to MS State..

  • Anonymous

    …er…but the screen name is “asu1″…this poster can claim most anything…but I can’t imagine anyone graduating from MS State while using such broken improper English and poor spelling…makes one wonder

  • Anonymous

    Most teachers nowadays use broken improper English and use poor spelling….

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t matter…there’s no excuse for chosen self-inflicted ignorance when an education is FREE to anyone who embraces the opportunity

  • Anonymous

    Um, er… sailors, not sailers.  LOL!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah you right…I must’ve been “drunken” when I “sailed” that one…good catch

  • Anonymous

    Just typing fast on my lunch break, but do you know people from time to time will make a mistake.
    You made that alcorn state university, it is mississippi state university. The white people graduating
    from alcorn do not have a problem with this university.Do you have a problem with blacks graduating from Ms. State. The ASU is not for alcorn state university, but  i am glad to let you make a damn fool of yourself. I think all of your comments are racist.

  • Anonymous

    That is absolutely correct MS. STATE UNIVERSITY.

  • Anonymous

    That is true, but the NPD back in the 90′s had their own street drug unit.

  • Anonymous

    I would like for everyone to read the post by natchezms1978, the one posted right under
    riverqueen’s comment.Check out the one when he was talking about the ghetto-mobile
    & used the word CAMOFLAGED, INSTEAD of CAMOUFLAGED, now what university did
    you attend. It just proves anyone on the bolgs can make a mistake when it comes to spelling.

  • Anonymous

    Do not forget to read some of the articles where you mispelled words on these blogs, where did you graduate from?

  • Anonymous

    Crakalakin you and let em loose lillie must be kin…..the container the money was found in previously contained narcotics or the dog would have never alerted to the vehicle, period. The United States Supreme Court has upheld these searches! You just keep turning your naive head as to whats going on in this county and you will be just as guilty as the the drug lords.

  • Anonymous

    “the container the money was found in previously contained narcotics or the dog would have never alerted to the vehicle, period. ”
    So what?  The odds say the cash in your wallet will test positive for trace amounts of cocaine, meaning it has at some point in time been used to snort coke.  I guess the cops have some right to steal your money too.

    What you are failing to understand is this is about rights and due process of law.  There was no crime and the cops stole ninety thousand dollars with out any due process of law.

    The Supreme Court also said it was OK to steal private land and give it to companies.  The Supreme Court also said it was perfectly OK to kill babies as long as they are in the womb.  They are not Gods, they are men and women, driven largely by political motive and as such are sometimes wrong.

    Drug dealers are bad.  However, they still have rights.  More than that, the police are supposed have limitations.

  • Anonymous

    We follow due process.  It allows for such because of a preponderance of the evidence that has been presented to a judge and a warrant issued.  They don’t just say, “I think that guy may be dealing drugs.  Take all this money!”.

witness