Pot seed prompts Baltimore County arrest, seizure of $105,000 in cash
A man driving in Baltimore County in a 1997 Lexus with Texas plates in January was arrested for pot possession after a weed seed was found in the car, according to court documents. Also in the car was a lot of cash – more than $105,000 – which law enforcers seized as suspected drug proceeds.
The details of what led to the arrest of the driver, Paulton Anthony Rose, and the seizure of the cash emerged in Maryland U.S. District Court on June 18, when federal prosecutors filed civil-forfeiture proceedings against the money, seeking to keep it.
After pulling Rose over for speeding, Maryland State Police troopers noticed “multiple air fresheners throughout the vehicle” and “no visible luggage,” “a large amount of U.S. Currency” in his wallet, and the fact that Rose’s various and changing explanations of his travel plans were inconsistent. A K-9 unit arrived, and after the drug-sniffing dogs indicated Rose’s Lexus had drugs in it, the troopers found a single “marijuana seed in the sunglass compartment, near the rearview mirror,” so Rose “was arrested for Possession of Marijuana,” according to court documents. A search of online Maryland court records, however, does not reflect any criminal charges against Rose.
As for the cash, Rose brought it up early and often during his interactions with the troopers, according to court documents. Most of it – $104,020 – was in two “green cellophane wrapped packages” inside a “white, yellow, and black plastic shopping bag,” which was underneath some t-shirts inside a “a red duffel bag” in the trunk. The remaining $1,460 that was seized was taken from Rose’s wallet.
At first, Rose said that “the money had come from a courier business, transporting furniture,” according to court records, that “he always packages money the way it was packaged in the duffel bag,” that “he kept his money at his home because he has had problems with Bank of America,” and that he could “prove ownership of the money.”
Later, according to court records, Rose told the troopers a different story about the cash: that “he was instructed by an unknown female in Queens, NY,” to “take possession of a package” in Baltimore; that he “received the red duffel bag” from “a male, known only as ‘John,’ at a Starbucks” shortly before being pulled over; that “this was the first time he participated” in picking up bags of money; and that the money “was not his.”