Cops Must Return $1 Million in Non-Drug Money to Stripper

By Jennifer Blue 07/24/13

Nebraska cops seized a woman's hard-earned life savings, thinking it was drug money.

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She earned every dollar. Photo via

Nebraska police have been ordered to return over $1 million in cash they confiscated during a traffic stop, mistakenly believing it was drug money. Last week, Judge Joseph Bataillon ruled that the cash must be returned to Tara Mishra, 33, who had saved the money during her 15-year career as an exotic dancer. The California native had been reportedly saving up to start her own business so she could get out of the stripping business. In March 2012, she gave the cash to her friends Rajesh and Marina Dheri, so they could purchase a New Jersey nightclub, which they were going to co-own with Mishra. When the Dheris were pulled over for speeding, cops found the rolled up dollar bills—tied up with hair elastics and placed in plastic bags—in the trunk, deemed it suspect and took the Dheris into custody. Police found trace evidence of illegal drugs on the money, but no other evidence of drug activity or paraphernalia in the car. “The government failed to show a substantial connection between drugs and the money,” wrote Bataillon. “The dog sniff is inconsequential…The court finds the Mishras’ story is credible…Ms. Mishra did have control over the money and directed the Dheris to deliver the money to New Jersey for the purchase of the business.” He ordered that Mishra will receive $1,074,000 in cash, including interest.

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