Two former California Highway Patrol officers who switched gears and became cannabis delivery drivers have reclaimed $257,733 in cash that was seized from them during a traffic stop on Interstate 5 last year, their attorney said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection returned the money back to former CHP officers Rick Barry and Brian Clemann after they sued the state to dispute their arrest in September 2018.
Clemann and Barry are the owners of Wild Rivers Transport, a cannabis delivery company based in Humboldt County. Their buisness moves product and cash for licensed California recreational and medical marijuana companies.
Following their arrest, the two men only spent a few hours in custody before being released, but police officers seized a loaded gun and money that they carried with them from sales of marijuana in LA county.
The state turned the cash over to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Federal prosecutors did not file forfeiture proceedings, which obligated the customs agency to return the money, Barry and Clemann’s attorney said.
“CHP believed, mistakenly, that by turning the legally-derived funds over to federal authorities, they could put the money out of legal reach and hobble California’s emerging cannabis industry,” attorney Matthew Kumin said in a written statement. “The case underscores that CHP’s efforts to shore up a failed and widely reviled drug policy is coming to an end.”
Clemann states that he and his partner were careful to follow state laws. “We make sure they’re a licensed company,” he states. “We do our research, then we transport from A to B.”
Although they have their cash back, Clemann and Barry aren’t out of trouble just yet.
Both men face two misdemeanor charges filed February 25 in Stanislaus County Superior Court stemming from the incident, each offense connected to possession of a loaded, concealed firearm.