Article from Reason by C.J. Ciaramella.

The Miami-Dade Police Department must return nearly $20,000 in cash to a woman after prosecutors admitted that officers illegally searched her car and seized several lawfully owned guns.

The Miami Herald reports that the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, and her husband, Ras Cates. The case is textbook example of how asset forfeiture laws and the drug war incentivize constitutional violations and bad police work.

Batista and Cates were arrested following a traffic stop in May. Police allegedly smelled marijuana in their car, and a subsequent search turned up six guns, several large bottles of what cops suspected to be codeine cough syrup, and nearly $20,000 in cash in Batista’s purse.

At the time, police touted it as a major bust. CBS Miami ran an “exclusive” story about the “arsenal of weapons, cash and illegal drugs”…

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons