MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade police will have to return nearly $20,000 to a stripper and her husband seized during a traffic stop.
They have to pay the couple’s legal bills, too.
Ras Cates, 33, and his wife, Lizmixell Batista, a 20-year-old stripper at Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, were pulled over May 15 after police say they cut off an officer in Miami’s West Little River neighborhood.
Cates initially got out of his car and said he was armed and had a concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm. He added that he had two more weapons in the glove box.
Officers ran the firearms and permits, which all came back as legal.
The police then told Cates to pop the trunk in order to secure the guns.
That’s when the officers spotted three more guns and a backpack that they said was emitting a strong odor of marijuana.
The officers then searched the bag without Cates’ permission and found what appeared to be marijuana oil in viles, a small amount of marijuana and four bottles of what they suspected was liquid codeine.
The couple was charged with armed drug dealing, among other felony charges.
Neither Cates nor Batista admitting owning the marijuana and whether it was actually codeine in the bottles will never be known. It was never taken for testing in a lab.
In addition to confiscating the firearms, which Cates is still trying to get back, they also seized $19,934 from Batista’s purse suspecting it was drug money.
Batista explained that hers was a cash only job, but the officers took it anyway.
A judge later ruled that the money was to be returned because there was no probable cause for the seizure.
The state also declined to press charges after determining “(The) search of the trunk was illegal. Officers did not have the authority or consent to search the trunk of the vehicle.”