ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A local law enforcement agency that took more than $1,300 in cash from a man during an arrest does not have to return it, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday.
In 2015, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputies saw Hubbert Roy asleep in his parked vehicle. They learned he had a warrant and arrested him. In the process of searching Roy and his vehicle, the deputies found $1,310 in cash, a scale with white powder residue and bottles of prescription medication with labels naming different people.
Investigators suspected that given his low income, the cash came from the sale of narcotics. Even though Roy testified the money had come as a gift from a friend, and the Arapahoe County District Court judge found the friend credible, the court still presumed the money was associated with his illegal possession of drugs.
Under the Colorado Contraband Forfeiture Act, money that is “used to facilitate” drug possession or distribution is contraband subject to seizure, based on probable cause. In enacting the law, the General Assembly noted it was “designed to benefit the public good by appropriating contraband property for use by law enforcement.”
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