We may have a new term in drug enforcement: smelly money.
Jurors convicted William David Bush of Sebastopol, Calif. on Friday of possessing money from marijuana sales.
Police asserted that the $47,000 they found in his car smelled so strongly of the drug that the money could only have come from a recent drug transaction. However, no actual marijuana was found.
According to CBS, police stopped Bush for speeding and found that his driver’s license had been suspended. Officers then allegedly searched the vehicle and found the money in the car.
Bush represented himself in the trial, claiming the money had come from his ATM business and from his mother. He faces up to four years in jail and will be sentenced on October 24.
While jurors could not firsthand evaluate the reportedly overwhelming scent, other evidence exhibited included fine particles of pot on the floor, a handwritten note allegedly describing multiple marijuana strains and receipts from purchases of outdoor growing operation items, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported, noting that it was the smell that really swayed the jury.
While significant evidence points toward Bush’s guilt, the case has some larger implications for police rights to stop and search cars.
“It’s one of the highest, most protected rights under the Constitution, the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure,” William Paul Barry, a defense attorney in Boca Raton, Florida told the Sun Sentinel. “In the cases where it’s hard to believe [the officer actually smelled marijuana], it’s the worst kind of violation.”