DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The police report about Dallas Police seizing $100,000 in cash from Love Field in December was released on Feb. 16, over two months since the incident took place. It helps clarify why police decided to search the bag, but important questions remain about the process and how the seizure was justified.
In the documents obtained through an open records request, police name the 25-year-old woman the cash was seized from and list her a "suspect," although she was not charged with a crime or detained.
According to the report, detectives with the Dallas Police Narcotics Interdiction Squad who are also Task Force Officers with the FBI were "working the transfer bags at Dallas Love Field" when K9 officer Ballentine indicated the presence of "drug odor" coming from a piece of luggage. Ballentine is trained to alert to the odors of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.
Police said that the decision to search the bag was made due to the fact that the suitcase was about to be loaded onto an airplane, was "destined for a known source city [Chicago] for the exportation of narcotics," and would only be in the location for a short time that there wasn't time to get a search warrant without causing "an undue burden to the passengers and/or airlines if not immediately searched."
The search revealed the suitcase contained two white shipping bags wrapped in blankets, but no other items. A detective who opened the bag reported "smelling the odor of marijuana" coming from inside the bags, and police located the woman inside the airport's terminal. She agreed to speak with detectives.
When asked about the bag, the woman described it as a gray hard suitcase with a lock only around the zipper part and was moveable. This contrasted with the bag being black and having a lock that would not move unless unlocked.
The report notes that when the woman was asked if she was carrying cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin, she stated, "No." But when she was asked about marijuana, police noted she hesitated and her eyes darted to the left when she again answered, "No." Police then asked if she was carrying large sums of cash; again, she hesitated, her eyes darted to the left, and answered, "No." The woman then said she had about $20,000 inside of the luggage along with clothing.
The detective asked what the woman did for work, and she said that she sold residential real estate with her boyfriend and had made a sale on a house. She also said she dances.
Detectives said that the canine alert to drug odors, the incorrect description of the bag, the woman not knowing the color of or what was inside of the suitcase, and the way the money was packed led them to believe the money may have been "the result of the sales of illegal narcotics and is part of the trafficking of narcotics."
When police informed the woman that the money would be seized, she allegedly seemed "unfazed by this and signed a property receipt," which she was given a copy of.
Although police found the circumstances of the incident suspicious, the report does not note if a follow-up investigation was launched. The money was apparently taken to FBI Dallas, but it is not state what happened afterwards.
It also confirms that no drugs were found on the woman or the suitcase and that the seizure was made on the basis of the canine's alert, detectives finding the woman's responses suspicious, and that the bag was headed to Chicago.
Studies have indicated in the past that a significant portion of US dollar bills are contaminated with some kind of illicit substance. The woman's responses could have been due to anxiety for whatever reason, and drug activity is common in most large cities.
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