Miami-Dade Police are on the hook for $19,934, plus over $3,000 more in legal fees that they owe to local stripper, Lizmixell Batista. They don’t owe for a wild party or anything that exciting, they owe for a traffic stop gone wrong.
It was one of those stops where the cops do almost everything wrong during and after. Police pulled over a car and illegally found money, guns, and alleged drugs, and now the money, guns, and alleged drugs all have to be returned; it wasn’t a good day for the MDPD.
The driver of the car, Ras Cates, is Batista’s husband. As he often did when Batista was working at the Cheetah Gentleman’s Club in Hallandale Beach, Cates picked her up after her shift, which is why Batista said she had so much cash. When inspecting the vehicle, police found several guns, some of which were assault-style rifles. They also seized what they believed to be marijuana oil, and six bottles of codeine cough medicine they did not have a prescription for. It was a good haul for the cops.
It was so good in fact the the MDPD went on CBS4 and bragged about the bust.
“It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases. A lot of serial killers are behind bars because of traffic stops.”
While that was great PR for the cops during that news cycle, everything slowly, then quickly, unraveled as the couple brought in an attorney to argue their case which included a charge for armed drug dealing. Their attorney, Jude Faccidomo, quickly began pointing out everything the cops did wrong during the stop.
Cates never consented to a search of his trunk; the cops instead ordered him to open it, which means the search was illegal and invalid. The oil suspected to be marijuana-based was never tested in a lab. Cates had permits, including a concealed carry permit, for all of his weapons. Neither Cates, nor his wife admitted to being the owner of the suspected codeine cough syrup, so there was no chain of custody and that had to be tossed.
As for the money, the police moved fast on that, asking a judge to turn it over to them as they claimed it was money associated with drug dealing, and they knew that because a drug dog barked at it. Batista told the police during the stop that she had a large sum of money on her that she earned working her all-cash job at a strip club.
“We got bills to pay sweetie,” she reportedly told the cops, and that she was supposed to go to the bank to deposit the money. Despite the cash being covered in glitter, the cops weren’t buying it.
Presented with the mountain of violations that they police had committed during the search and seizure of assets during the stop, the prosecution decided to dismiss the case and agree to the MDPD paying around $3,000 in legal fees for Cates and Batista. A judge ordered the $19,934 that had been seized be returned as well.
There is no word on whether the returned funds will include the glitter.