Late Night: The Case of the Thrifty Stripper
Sometimes the American justice system works! And when it does, it makes me want to spin around, tear off my clothes and slide down a pole! Possibly exotic dancer Tara Mishra feels the same, if not more so since U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon ordered Nebraska State Troopers to return over $1 million in cash to the stripper.
Cops had confiscated the dough, $10,000 bundles tied with hair bands and placed in plastic bags, from the trunk of a rental car driven by Mishra’s friends, Rajesh and Marina Dheri, who were stopped for speeding in Nebraska. The couple, and Mishra’s cash, were on their way to New Jersey, where the trio were planning to buy a nightclub. For fifteen years Mishra had saved all her tips from twirling her tassels and making it rain, stashing the cash and waiting for the right investment.
The state trooper asked if he could search the car, and the Dheris assented. Boy that cornhusker must have thought he’d hit the Big Case when he saw all that moolah. Drug sniffing dogs were called in (because of course anyone that much money had to be in the drugs biznez, riiiight?). And course because nearly four out five bills in circulation contain trace amounts of cocaine and other drugs, the canine drug enforcement agents signaled drugs.
But no evidence of drugs or dug use was found in the car, and Judge Bataillon ordered that the Nebraska State Trooper return the cash or a produce a check in the value of $1,074,000. With interest. He wrote in his opinion:
The government failed to show a substantial connection between drugs and the money. The dog sniff is inconsequential…The court finds the Mishras’ story is credible…Ms. Mishra did have control over the money and directed the Dheris to deliver the money to New Jersey for the purchase of the business.