Can Police Prove Existence of Drugs Using Drug-Sniffing Dog If the Only Evidence Is Money ?
In Commonwealth v. Marshall, 548 Pa. 495, 698 A.2d 576 (1997), a police officer, after stopping a vehicle, noticed that the back seat cushion was pulled away from the upright portion of the seat, and that packets of currency were present in the exposed area.
After arresting appellant, the officer recovered $ 3,400 in various denominations, divided into packets totaling $ 100 each, and arranged with the individual bills alternated face-up and face-down.
The search uncovered no drugs or drug paraphernalia, but a drug-sniffing dog later "alerted" to the money, indicating the residual presence of an illegal substance.
The trial court forfeited the money, the Court affirmed, and the Supreme Court ultimately held that the evidence did not prove anything more than a suspicion of a possible nexus between the money and violations of the Controlled Substance Act.