A California stripper is entitled to $1 million found in a vehicle during a Nebraska State Patrol drug stop in 2012, a U.S. District Court judge rule last week. She claimed the money was her life savings.
Exotoc dancer Tasha Mishra, of Rancho Cucamonga, should receive the $1,074,900 found in the vehicle driven by Rejesh Dheri, Judge Joseph F. Bataillon ordered in an opinion, reported Lori Pilger of the Lincoln Journal Star
Nebraska State Patrol troopers confiscated the money after a March 2012 traffic stop near North Platte in western Nebraska, but the judge said there wasn't enough of a connection between it and drugs.
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"There is no nexus between the currency and any illegal activity," Bataillon said in an opinion last week.
Misha had told the court in May that the money represented her life savings stripping in Southern California and gave the money to Dheri to open a club in New Jersey, according to a May story in the Journal Star.
"In any event, that claimant Tara Mishra earned her money by lap dancing and nude dancing does not mean that a Nebraska State Trooper can take her life savings," Mishra's attorney Roger Diamond told the Journal Star.
After giving Dheri a speeding ticket, troopers asked to searched the vehicle and found two duffel bags in the cargo area, the newspaper said. Troopers found large Ziplock bags with rubber-banded bundles of cash, mostly $100s, along with dryer sheets.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Nebraska assistant U.S. attorney Nancy Svoboda claimed there was probable cause to believe, based on the circumstances and a "commonsense view of the realities of normal life," that it was probable the money was either earned by and being used for illegal drug trade.
Svoboda said in the complaint according to the Journal Star that the only logical reason to package the money as it was found was to try to hide any odor coming off the money, so drug dogs wouldn't find it.
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In his ruling, though, Bataillon ripped the government for destroying the money, preventing the defense to rebut the claim that there was drug residue on the bills, the Journal Star said. At trial, Mishra and her husband said she'd claimed the earnings on tax returns and provided details about an agreement they had to buy part of a bar a bar.
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