(NEWSER) – Police in Florida have been ordered by a judge to pay back nearly $20,000 they seized from a stripper. Judge Rodney Smith ruled in favor of 20-year-old Lizmixell Batista and her husband, Ras Cates, in the case that began with a May traffic stop in Miami. Miami-Dade officers said the couple’s vehicle cut off a patrol car and, after they initiated the stop, cops seized $19,934 and a cache of guns that included three assault-style rifles, reports the Miami Herald. After officers fed news of the bust, which also included suspected marijuana oil and codeine cough syrup, to local TV station WFOR, defense attorneys challenged the search of the couple’s trunk as illegal, and prosecutors agreed.
While defense attorney Jude Faccidomo said he “felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence” to back up Batista’s claim seen in body cam footage that she just hadn’t yet deposited her earnings, Miami-Dade officers claimed they seized the money because a police canine indicated the cash had been in proximity to narcotics. A fellow dancer at the Cheetah Gentleman’s Club in Hallandale Beach would later testify at a hearing that Batista earned “significant cash tips” as part of her line of work. The judge agreed and ruled that the money had to be returned and that the department must pay $3,000 in the defendants’ attorney fees.