May 30, 2014 10:51:13 AM
MCCOMB -- A Pike County judge has ordered the Magnolia Police Department to return $16,702 in cash seized from a man arrested on misdemeanor charges at a traffic stop.
Authorities say the cash was seized after Christopher T. Stringer of Brookhaven and Latoya Bonds of Summit were stopped Sept. 19, 2012, at a driver's license checkpoint on Mississippi Highway 48 at Interstate 55.
Authorities say Stringer reportedly smelled of alcohol and marijuana, lacked a valid driver's license and had an open container of liquor.
Police officers got permission to search the vehicle and found marijuana and a large bag of money, which they seized.
Stringer paid fines in city court for misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and driving without a license but contested the forfeiture of the money.
Stringer's mother, Cynthia Cameron of Brookhaven, testified at the hearing before Taylor that part of the money came from her late husband's life insurance policy.
Stringer said the rest was savings from his job.
Taylor ruled the money had no connection to the marijuana and that there was no evidence of drug trafficking based on the small amount of marijuana.
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