FLORENCE, Ariz. – Two women were arrested on the 4th of July after a traffic stop turned up over $47,000 in cash, hundreds of dollars of counterfeit money, marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.
On 7/4/2012 at approximately 1:15 a.m., a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy patrolling eastbound on Interstate 10, south of Casa Grande, witnessed a white Mazda sedan making several illegal lane changes and conducted a traffic stop.
The deputy detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana emitting from the vehicle after the passenger, identified as Tiffiany Cleveland, 29 of Las Vegas, NV rolled down her window. The deputy made contact with the driver, Shanice Hempstead, 30 of Fontana, CA and asked for her license. A registration check showed Hempstead was driving on a suspended license. When asked separately where they were coming from and going, the women gave conflicting stories. Hempstead provided the deputy with a physician's statement of recommendation for medical marijuana issued out of California, but said there was no more marijuana in the vehicle.
|Black bag pictured along with over $47,000 in cash seized during the July 4th traffic stop.|
A search of the vehicle turned up several pipes with residue consistent with methamphetamine, as well as additional marijuana. A black purse containing $47,670 in currency that had been shrink‐wrapped and rubber banded together was also found. Additionally, a total of $460 in counterfeit $20 bills was found between both women’s purses.
After she was confronted with the items found in her car, Hempstead admitted she was hired to transport a bundle of what she believed was drug money from Las Vegas, NV to southern Arizona.
Cleveland denied knowing anything about the money.
Hempstead was charged with Money Laundering
, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
and Driving on a Suspended License
Cleveland was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
. More charges are pending. “Not only do we see massive amount of drugs moving north through our county, a steady flow of cash continues heading south back into the hands of the suppliers,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “These women will be held accountable for their part in keeping the drug trade going through our county.”