Press Release: Madison County Sheriff's Office
Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart reports that on Wednesday the 20th day of March 2013, Madison County Sheriff’s Office I.C.E. Team conducted a traffic stop on a 2012 Chevy sedan for speeding and following too close. The vehicle was being driven by Edward Earl Bland II of Tallahassee and Ocala, FL.
While taking enforcement actions for the two traffic violations committed the deputies made observations of signs indicant of possible criminal activity. After completing the enforcement actions the deputies conducted a consensual search of the Chevy sedan.
During consensual search of the vehicle, deputies located a large duffle bag in the trunk. Upon seeing the duffle bag, Bland immediately asked deputies what was in the bag and denied owning the bag or having any knowledge of the bag. A complete search of the duffle bag found it to contain a large plastic shopping bag containing 21 large bundles of US Currency. The duffle bag also had a strong odor of marijuana and contained marijuana residue. There was air freshener inside the duffle bag along with the currency in an attempt to mask the odor of the marijuana. The currency was packaged in a manner indicative of a drug courier’s method of transportation.
Bland adamantly denied owning the currency or having any knowledge as to who the owner was or even how the currency ended up in the trunk of his vehicle. Bland provided a sworn statement revealing the currency was not his and he did not want anything to do with it. Bland further signed a Disclaimer form effectively signing the currency over to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office who has seized the currency and initiated forfeiture proceedings and continued investigation.
Bland was released without criminal charges.