The Miami-Dade police department quickly promoted the work of their officers after a May 25 traffic stop resulted in the possession of six guns, three of which were assault-style rifles, marijuana oil, several bottles of codeine cough syrup and $19,934 in cash.
“It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases,” a spokesman for the department told WFOR-CBS4. "A lot of serial killers are behind bars because of traffic stops."
The department however couldn't rest on their laurels because the search was illegal.
According to the Miami-Herald, police stopped 33-year-old Ras Cates and his 20-year-old wife LizMixell Batista after their car cut off a patrol car in the Miami's West Little River neighborhood. The couple's defense lawyer swiftly refuted the police department's claims.
“What is most disturbing is that immediately following the arrest, the department went on TV and engaged in incendiary speculation without knowing the facts or even acknowledging the rampant violations of my clients’ constitutional rights," Jude Faccidomo said.
After realizing their error, the prosecution's office dismissed the case.
Cates told officers he legally purchased the weapons and had a permit, which checked out. Body cam footage showed the officer didn't have a warrant to search the car, but instead" commanded [the] defendant to pop the trunk."
Lawyers are still trying to get the guns back. Neither Cates or Batista claimed ownership of the the marijuana.As far as the nearly $20K, the money was found in Batista's purse and body cam footage shows her telling officers she has a "cash only job" and that they were on the way to the bank.
Law enforcement believed the money was drug money, but Faccidomo quipped evidence proved exactly what she does for a living.
“I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed," he said.