In Lamar County, Ga., “They had guns and badges and they just took it.”
In September 2007, Chris Hunt was driving on I-75 through central Georgia on his way to see his mother in his hometown of Dublin. Lamar County sheriffs stopped Hunt, who owns a car detailing business, for speeding. Officers say they smelled burnt marijuana and alcohol in the car, discovered marijuana on the floor, and noted that Hunt had bloodshot eyes, all claims that Hunt denies. Upon finding $5,581, officers confiscated the cash over Hunt’s protests. He said the money was the weekend’s profits from his shop.
A canine later detected drug residue on the cash (a notoriously unreliable indicator of drug activity see page 24 of Policing for Profit). The sheriffs did not find a testable amount of drugs, however, nor alcohol or any other contraband. Hunt was never charged with a crime. “It was my hard-earned cash,” said Hunt. “They had guns and badges and they just took it.” National Public Radio examined other federal forfeiture cases from Lamar County and found the same pattern—motorists without previous narcotics arrests stopped and their cash seized because officers claimed they could smell marijuana they could not find, the motorist acted nervous and police dogs alerted on the cash.
Hunt contacted an attorney to help get his money back and filed a claim in November 2007. In July 2009, he received half back as part of a negotiated settlement.
 Burnett, J, (2008, June 16). Cash seizures by police prompt court fights. National Public Radio. Retrieved September 15, 2009, from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91555835; Complaint at 1, United States v. $5,581.00 in United States Funds No. 5:08-tc-05000 (M.D.Ga. filed Feb. 06, 2008).
 Complaint at 1, United States v. $5,581.00 in United States Funds No. 5:08-tc-05000 (M.D.Ga. filed Feb. 06, 2008).
 Settlement at 1, United States v. $5,581.00 in United States Funds No. 5:08-cv-31 (M.D.Ga. dismissed Jul. 28, 2009).