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Cash that smells like pot equals probable cause

Published:

    Did you see the news about the guy in, I think, Wis, who deposited $4000 in the bank and when a teller handled the money and smelled something funny ended up calling police who ended up going to the guy's house, finding a bag of pot and arresting him?

  This bothers me on several levels.  I read an article once about random forensic examination of paper money. The results were pretty wild - almost all of the paper money in circulation has cocaine residue that can be transferred to body of the person handling it well after it leaves the source.  Cocaine was only 1 of a lot of things on the money - some you probably would rather not know about.  Actually, if you handle large volumes of paper money in particular, I'd carry a perpetual supply of antibacterial wipes. 

  If the money was covered in blood or smelled of bitter almonds or a white powdery substance that might be terrorism-related, I can see a bank employee making the call.    Isn't our money scrutinized enough?  I understand (even if I don't like) the reasons why our banking habits are tracked and why some things automatically trigger Federal involvement. 

  Of course I understand the man may be a dealer but they are reporting the search of his home turned up a bag of pot.  My impression is that we're not talking pounds but an ounce.  Apparently the gentleman was on probation for something and this did constitute a violation and that was the grounds use for arresting him.  Also, being on probation negates need for a search warrant in most cases, so he had forfeited that right up front.  I'm not in a position to judge this man either way - he clearly put himself in a bad position either prior to or at the time of the money deposit.

       Even still, this just does not sit right with me.  I tried to put myself in the position of the bank teller.  If I found the money offensive because of smell, I'm sure banks have a procedure to despose/replace paper money that is "damaged."  The money by smell could not possibly have constituted a threat of any kind.  Maybe with homeland security and the depth and breadth to which those rules goes, there is some bank rule for employees that they have to report anything they find odd or suspicious.  Maybe someone here at LP is a bank employee and can shed some light for me. 

Entry #27

Comments

1.
LOTTOMIKEComment by LOTTOMIKE - March 26, 2008, 5:41 am
bothers me too on several levels including the fact that everyone is so damn paranoid post 9/11 especially.hell the guy might've smoked some pot before he went to deposit his money.i don't drink,smoke or do drugs anymore but back in my prime i smoked enough weed to supply an army but i'm one of those i've got to have it all go to excess type of people and drink almost killed me so i just quit everything and cleaned my slate and that includes smoking cigs too.i think a lot of this is going way overboard with the probable cause thing.
2.
time*treatComment by time*treat - March 26, 2008, 8:14 am
Annoyed, yes. Paranoid, no. Thing is, we tend to judge the action by the results. If the cops had found pipe bombs or bodies in the guy's house, the teller would be hailed as a hero. Now they'll just be regarded as a busybody. Did anyone notice that although the money "smelled funny" the bank allowed the deposit? :-)
3.
justxploringComment by justxploring - March 26, 2008, 6:46 pm
I had just the opposite experience Monday. I walked into a bank and got a cashier's check and she didn't even ask me for ID. I could have been anyone. I'd make a good terrorist I guess. :-)

Jake, thanks for your post. This is disturbing to me. I am wondering how the police were able to get a legal search warrant. I mean, this was in Wisconsin so maybe he had been eating some cheese!

Okay - here's another article about this incident. "bagged marijuana" is different from a bag of marijuana. Sounds as if he was a dealer.

http://media.www.ntdaily.com/media/storage/paper877/news/2008/03/26/Opinion/Man-Arrested.For.Money.Smelling.Like.Marijuana-3283407.shtml

4.
justxploringComment by justxploring - March 26, 2008, 6:55 pm
Okay - this one says they found a pound and that he lives near an elementary school. Who knows? I agree with you 100% that many times our rights are violated. In this case, it sounds as if the odor was very strong. Time*treat, maybe she took the money because it was evidence!

Oh, I just read what you wrote again, so please disregard my question about the search warrant. If he's still on probation, then they can stop him for sneezing.
5.
justxploringComment by justxploring - March 26, 2008, 7:00 pm
Oops - apologize for the extra comment. Forgot to paste!
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080324/APC0101/80324079/1979/frontpage
6.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - March 26, 2008, 7:21 pm
The way things are today any money larger than a weekly paycheck in anyones hands is warrant for scrutiny.
I carry cash all the time when I have it LOL. I could be stopped and come under scrutiny for carrying too much cash.
I know someone who use to walk around with no less than 10,000 dollars on him. He quit doing that for reasons mentioned. He said it was for purchases of something he may want right then and there. Legal purchases that is for autos or whatever.
7.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - March 26, 2008, 7:25 pm
I also heard this one about seizure of cash by the d e a.
A family was traveling on vacation and preffered to have cash for the trip. They were stopped on the highway for some reason and the cash was taken from them by the d e a. Probable cause.
Vacation cut short and a lenghty haul to get the money back.
8.
Comment by pacattack05 - March 26, 2008, 7:35 pm
This happened but much worse recently with two separate incidents. A tourist was sent to prison for 7 years in Saudi Arabia. their drug screening machines are so exact as to find a strand of pot under the shoe. In the other instance, 3 poppy seeds were the culprits involving another touris who was detained for about 2 years. he just happened to eat a burger with buns that had poppy seeds, to which three of them seeds fell into the jacket pocket.

I'm sorry, but the Saudis have an issue...lol

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