A federal judge in Nevada has ordered the government to return $167,000 that was seized from a man driving his motorhome on a highway two years ago. The man, Straughn Gorman, was traveling to visit his girlfriend. He was never charged with a crime.
The seizure originally occurred in January 2013, when Gorman was driving his motorhome from Delaware to visit his girlfriend in Sacramento, Calif.
Police stopped Gorman not once, but twice, within 50 minutes while he drove west on Interstate 80, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.
In the first traffic stop, which occurred near Elko, Nev., a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper stopped the man for driving too slowly in the passing lane. Gorman refused to let the trooper search his vehicle, and the Nevada Highway Patrol officer allowed him to continue on without issuing any citations.
Less than an hour later, Gorman was stopped again by an Elko County Sheriff’s Office deputy, who the highway patrol trooper had arranged to pull Gorman over once more, court documents show. The deputy had a drug-sniffing dog with him, and a search of the motorhome was conducted.
In the two-minute video originally posted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the officer searched the vehicle, where he found $167,000 in cash stored in different places throughout the motorhome.
The officer told Gorman that the cash, his computer, cellphone and vehicle would all be seized under civil asset forfeiture laws.
Though the Elk County Sheriff’s deputy said the dog detected drugs in the motorhome, none were found, and Gorman was never charged with a crime.