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Hope Star - Hope, AR
  • Orphaned cash goes to court

  • Like the Boll Weevil of the Brook Benton classic, there is $13,770 in cash that is just lookin' for a home.
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  • Like the Boll Weevil of the Brook Benton classic, there is $13,770 in cash that is just lookin' for a home.
    Unlike the boll weevil, if no-one claims the orphaned cash in 60 days, it goes to local law enforcement. And, that is likely the reason why no-one will claim it, according to Eighth Judicial District-North Prosecuting Attorney Christi McQueen.
    It's probably drug money,” McQueen said.
    According to a legal notice published in the Hope Star by her office on March 14, any claimant must register their claim to the cash within 60 days or it will be forfeited through the court.
    We have to publish and see if there is anyone who would claim an interest in it,” McQueen said.
    That, however, comes with the caveat that they will probably have to prove where the money originated; and, the supposed owners have already disclaimed any interest in the cash.
    The cash was impounded as the result of a traffic stop on Dec. 23, 2013, by Arkansas State Police Trooper First Class Kyle Peek. The two occupants of the vehicle, Patricia Aldaco and Jose Chavez, both of Little Rock, gave Peek consent to search the vehicle, which Aldaco was driving, and Chavez gave consent for a personal search, according to a complaint filed in Hempstead County Circuit Court in February.
    During a search of the vehicle, which was consented to by said driver, United States currency in the amount of $12,000 was discovered hidden in a box which was inside a bag of trash located behind the driver's seat on the rear floorboard,” the complaint states. “During a consent search of the person of Jose Chavez, Tfc. Peek found $1,770 on Chavez's person.”
    According to the filing, Peek surmised that the cash was likely drug money and he confiscated it. As a result, on that same day, both Aldaco and Chavez were given an opportunity to voluntarily disclaim ownership of the confiscated cash, and both signed statements accordingly, the filing states.
    Asked whether the pair should have automatically been assumed to have been in possession of drug money, rather than simply having personal cash which they did not trust to the depository of a bank, McQueen said that Peek's training was critical in that determination.
    Page 2 of 2 - “There was nothing that would make you think that,” she said. “They were stopped on the interstate in a rental car, and they couldn't get their stories straight on where they were going or where they were from.”
     

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