The Clarion Ledger has a story a story about the great good luck of of the police force down in Morton, who had the good fortune to observe a truck come through the interstate driving “all crazy.” They stopped it, the drug dog got all excited, and they did a search. And guess what! The truck was carrying a cargo of $672K and dried peanuts, so, lucky them! They’re confiscating the money unless someone shows up to claim that cash.
That’s it. Nothing but an excited dog, dried peanuts, and an inexplicably large pile of cash. This would be a good time to bring the attention of you folks to Radley Balko’s article (h/t Habeas) about this very subject (to give Radley perspective, Morton is about 60 miles from Jones County, site of the MotorHomeDiaries stop).
In any event, here’s what happened down in Morton
The small Morton Police Department in Scott County seized enough money in one traffic stop Thursday to run the department for a year.
The money was in a tractor-trailer that a police officer chased six miles on I-20 west before stopping it at the Scott/Rankin county line.
Police believe the $672,439 take is drug money, but were not releasing details Thursday. Police also would not release the name of the woman driving the truck or say what she’s charged with. She is from California and is in custody in the Morton jail.
The stop that led to the seizure started around noon when Josh Hayman, the Police Department’s lone drug interdiction officer, spotted the truck driving erratically on the highway.
“He was pretty much getting ready to come back in for lunch. Then he saw this truck driving all crazy,” Police Chief Nicky Crapps said.
Hayman’s drug dog, Solo, alerted on the semi, and that gave officers probable cause to search it.
The dog “went crazy,” Crapps said excitedly.
More Morton officers by that time had arrived to assist Hayman.
Officers found the cash, mostly in small bills, stashed in a compartment inside the truck cab. The truck was hauling dried peanuts.
Crapps said the truck was en route to California from North Carolina. The money’s being kept in the the Bank of Morton, not at the Police Department.
It took bank employees nearly four hours to count the cash, Crapps said.
If no one claims the loot, the Police Department, which has nine full-time officers, can keep it, Crapps said.
Crapps, who has been chief for six months and in law enforcement in the Morton area for 35 years, said he’s never seen anything like the amount of money seized.
The department’s annual budget is $700,000.
The seized money could be used for much-needed equipment upgrades, Morton Mayor Greg Butler said.
“This is really going to help if it works out and we get to keep the money,” Butler said.
Yes, there may be something suspicious about hauling around that much cash. But I think there’s something suspicious about the way drug dogs are used for probable cause, so let’s call it a wash.