Car Trashed In Futile Search For Drugs

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POMPTON LAKES, N.J., Dec. 30 (UPI) — A New Jersey man whose car was impounded by police who suspected drugs were hidden inside said officers did $12,636.42 worth of damage.

Darren Richardson, 28, of Wanaque, said police called in a sniffer dog when he was pulled over by Pompton Lakes officers Sept. 23 and an officer claimed to detect a strong scent of marijuana, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported Thursday.

Richardson, who was charged with disorderly conduct after arguing with the officers, said the 2004 BMW 325i was impounded and he received it back three weeks later to find the car had been destroyed by the search for drugs. Police said no marijuana was found.

Geico, Richardson’s insurance company, estimated the damage at $12,636.42 and declared the car a “total loss.”

The Pompton Lakes Police Department said an internal affairs investigation has been opened into the incident.

Richardson has filed a notice of claim against the department alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution. He said Geico may sue the department to recoup the cost of his claim, which has been paid.

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