The Miami-Dade Police Department was ordered to pay legal bills and return nearly $20,000 in cash to a 20-year-old stripper, The Miami Herald reported.
The department agreed to pay more than $3,000 in attorney fees to lawyers hired by Ras Cates, 33, and his wife, Lizmixell Batista, who is a stripper at Cheetah Gentleman’s Club in Hallandale Beach.
The couple was arrested May 25 in Miami after police seized six guns — including three assault-type rifles — suspected marijuana oil and several bottles of codeine that did not have valid prescriptions, the Herald reported.
Police also confiscated $19,934 in bills that were found in Batista’s purse. According to body-camera footage obtained by the Herald, Batista explained the reason she was carrying so much cash.
“I was supposed to go the bank to deposit the money. We got bills to pay, sweetie,” she said.
The couple was charged with armed drug dealing and other felony charges, but defense attorneys challenged the arrest and prosecutors dropped the case, the Heraldreported.
Cates legally owned the weapons and had a valid concealed-weapons permit. Body-camera footage showed that Miami-Dade police did not receive permission to search Cates’ trunk, the newspaper reported.
“Search of the trunk was illegal,” prosecutor Johnathan Nobile wrote in a memo.
The Miami-Dade police department’s legal bureau asked a civil court judge to allow the police to keep the money, arguing that they believed it was drug money, the Herald reported. But at a hearing, Haley Heath, a co-worker with Batista at the strip club, testified that her friend earned “significant cash tips” at the club.
But at the hearing, a fellow stripper named Haley Heath testified that her friend, earned “significant cash tips” at the Cheetah club.
“I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed,” defense attorney Jude Faccidomo told the Herald.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rodney Smith ruled there was no probable cause for the seizure and ordered the money returned to the couple, the newspaper reported.