Skip to comments.'We got bills to pay, sweetie.' Cops forced to return stripper's $19,934 in cash
Posted on 07/06/2018 10:21:26 PM PDT by Simon Green
Miami-Dade police is on the hook for legal bills after cops illegally seized a cache of guns and nearly $20,000 in stripper cash.
The department has agreed to pay more than $3,000 to defense lawyers hired by Ras Cates, 33, and his wife, Lizmixell Batista, a 20-year-old stripper at Cheetah Gentleman's Club in Hallandale Beach.
Presumably, the legal bills won't be paid in singles.
On May 25, an officer pulled over Cates and Batista, his passenger, when their car cut off a patrol car in Miami's West Little River neighborhood. From the car, patrol officers seized six guns, three of them assault-style rifles, plus the cash, suspected marijuana oil and several bottles of powerful codeine cough syrup without a valid prescription.
Miami-Dade police touted the arrest to a local TV station, showing off photos of the guns. Its amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases, a police spokesman told WFOR-CBS4. A lot of serial killers are behind bars because of traffic stops."
The couple was charged with armed drug dealing, among other felony charges. But defense lawyers immediately challenged the arrest.
What is most disturbing is that immediately following the arrest, the department went on TV and engaged in incendiary speculation without knowing the facts or even acknowledging the rampant violations of my clients constitutional rights," said defense attorney Jude Faccidomo.
Faced with defense evidence, prosecutors moved quickly to dismiss the case.
Cates told cops he legally owned the weapons, and also had a valid concealed-weapons permit. His story checked out. And body-camera footage showed that an officer, while friendly with Cates, never got permission to search the trunk but instead "commanded defendant to pop the trunk," prosecutors wrote.
"Search of the trunk was illegal," prosecutor Johnathan Nobile said in a memo explaining why the state declined to press charges.
Who possessed the drugs or possibly illegal codeine syrup was never clear either, prosecutors said. Neither Cates nor Batista admitted who owned the marijuana. And whether the syrup was actually codeine was also unclear Miami-Dade police never took the liquid to the forensics lab for testing.
Lawyers for Cates are still trying to get the guns back.
As for the money, the bills were discovered in Batista's purse. Body-camera footage obtained by the Miami Herald showed she immediately told cops about her cash-only job. "I was supposed to go the bank to deposit the money. We got bills to pay, sweetie," she told police.
The Miami-Dade police department's legal bureau, suspecting it was dope money, asked a civil-court judge to allow the department to keep the $19,934 seized in the car. The department said a Miami-Dade police dog, Roxie, alerted that the cash had been "in close proximity" to large amounts of narcotics.
But at the hearing, a fellow stripper named Haley Heath testified that her friend, Batista, 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," said defense lawyer Faccidomo.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rodney Smith agreed there was no probable cause for the seizure and ordered the money returning to the couple.
He looks PISSED!... and I don’t blame him.
send lawyers, strippers, drugs, guns, and money? hugh hefner too?
shows to go ya, ya don’t go prancing around in public till ya win in the court.
You can’t get into a bar as a customer until you’re 21 but you can strip at an earlier age? That doesn’t make any sense.
You would think the LEOs would know how to cross the I's and dot the T's by now. sarc
They could just as easily be 100% innocent.
it’s the age of consent i guess. it’s vice, but legal vice.
that kind of dough doesn’t sound like it would be generated by some weed and cough syrup. and it’s pretty well known by now that most currency carries chemically detectable traces of drugs — as it rubs around in cash drawers the traces spread.
You don’t have to be 21 to go in a club in Florida.
only to order a drink in it
The drinking age in all 50 states, thanks to MADD, is 21.
They sound innocent to me. And being this is Miami-Dade, more than likely out of control cops. The command staff there is inept.
don’t like the civil forfeiture law. but none of this passes the smell test. I can see a striper having a couple 1000 dollars at the end of the night but not that much...they never should of had the money confiscated with out it going through the courts but I am sure the money was for something illegal what? Who knows? But just because you suspect that a criminal enterprise is going on does not mean that law enforcement can do what it wants.
Lawyers, guns, and money. You got the last two youre gonna need the first one. If thats tip money, the girl got skills as the boys in the hood say.
that is some slow looking stripper. wow.
The drinking age in all 50 states, thanks to MADD, is 21.
I hate them for that. At eighteen you must register for conscriptio, and be put into battle, trained and rated in a panoply of weapons, and these scolds won’t let you have a beer. I’m glad there were still fragments of free America when I was that age.
Eh, meant to say
“At eighteen you must register for conscription, and may be put into battle...”
Good for them. I have heard of horror stories of cops seizing large amounts of cash for no reason other than it is suspected to be obtained through illegal activity but with no evidence.
Only twenty years old but she looks like she’s got quite a few miles on her.
I know people who this has happened to. The unusual thing in this situation is that they actually got the cash back.
But you don’t have to be 21 to go in a club in Florida.
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