Unanswered questions in $340,000 seizure after April traffic stop
Was a Minnesota man illegally transporting more than $340,000 in drug proceeds when he was stopped five months ago on Interstate 90?
Or was he going to a car auction in Schaumburg and scheduled to sign a contract with a concert performer?
And did an Illinois state trooper have probable cause to make the traffic stop in the first place?
Kane County Judge Christine Downs will answer those questions Oct. 10 as attorneys spar over a traffic stop in which police seized money but did not arrest the driver.
Mitchell Kreiter argues his client was unfairly and illegally targeted by state police when pulled over at 11:03 a.m. April 25 for going 61 mph in a 55 mph zone.
In a motion, Kreiter contends the area of the traffic stop actually had a 70 mph limit and the trooper immediately ordered the driver to sit in the back of the trooper's vehicle despite having a valid license and insurance.
Kreiter argues the trooper illegally prolonged the stop by issuing the driver a warning and later having a drug dog sniff around the vehicle where cash was found in the trunk.
Kreiter's client told police the money was for a used car auction and to sign a music deal. The man was held up to six hours by police before being released.
The detention, traffic stop and monetary seizure violated his Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure, equal protection under law and right against self-incrimination, Kreiter argues.
"Illinois is a fact pleading state. Complaints may not rest upon conclusions of fact by the pleader unsupported by allegations of specific facts," read part of Kreiter's motion. "Such base allegations, without any evidence of connecting the seized money to illegal narcotics activity or money laundering, are insufficient to form a cause of action for forfeiture."
A scheduled hearing this week was pushed to next month so attorneys could submit written arguments.
Assistant State's Attorney Donald O'Brien argues in court records that Kreiter's motion contains an "unverified counter statement" that Kreiter's client was headed to a car auction and to sign a concert deal.
O'Brien also said the Illinois Supreme Court has recognized the state may amend its forfeiture complaint.