Forfeiture of Currency Derived from the Sale of Cocaine

In $ 56,700 v. State 730 S.W.2d 659, 660 (Tex. 1987), the State sought forfeiture of currency it claimed was derived from the sale of cocaine. The money was found in a residence by undercover officers who gained entrance under a search warrant. Officers had had the residence under surveillance for over a month, but there was no indication that anything suspicious had happened. The money was found in a bank bag in a safe located in a bathroom that was in a loft area of the residence. There was cocaine in the safe, although not in the bank bag, and a large amount of cocaine, some of which was pure, in the bathroom. There was cocaine, marijuana, and other drug paraphernalia in the adjacent bedroom and closet. The drug paraphernalia included a funnel, a grinder, scales, vials, and a substance commonly used to cut pure cocaine to "street quality". There was also a magazine article on laundering drug money. The homeowner, an architect, testified that he had obtained the money in his work. The Court held that the evidence would not support an inference that the money was derived from the sale of cocaine because the inference that the homeowner was merely a purchaser and user of drugs was equally consistent. The Court stated, as we often have: "When circumstances are consistent with either of two facts and nothing shows that one is more probable than the other, neither fact can be inferred." The Court reached the opposite conclusion in State v. $ 11,014. There, a narcotics officer in an airport was watching flights known to be frequented by persons transporting drugs when he noticed a person who had deplaned and was acting suspiciously. The man volunteered to the officer that he did not have a plane ticket, that he was traveling under an assumed name, and that he was a Jamaican citizen without proper immigration papers. He was then arrested by immigration authorities and searched. He had a single bag in which there were three or four items of clothing and two large bundles of cash wrapped in bedsheets. He also had a bundle of cash in one of his pockets. a police dog alerted to the suitcase and separately, to the money, indicating that both smelled of marijuana.