Prosecutors return $21,227 more to Interstate 40 travelers

An Oklahoma district attorney has dropped efforts to keep funds found in three more cases where money was taken from travelers during drug stops.
by Nolan Clay Modified: July 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: July 28, 2013
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He said an investigator from his task force “was right there with them the entire time.”

About the stop

The first traffic stop that led to money being seized was the one involving Crooks.

The Oklahoma attorney general's office is investigating Crooks' claim that the task force seized $7,900 from him. Crooks on Friday provided The Oklahoman a photo of a receipt showing $7,900 in $20 bills was taken.

Prosecutors reported the task force took $7,500.

Under review in the attorney general's investigation is whether someone stole $400 after the stop or whether the money was miscounted.

Crooks said he, a cousin and a friend were traveling in a new rental car, with a paper plate, when they were pulled over in Oklahoma, twice within five minutes.

Participating in the second stop was a Desert Snow employee named Jason Henderson. Crooks said an officer Henderson was the one who questioned them.

“He was like, ‘You all are riding down one of the most notorious drug highways … with no plates … So do you have … in the car large amounts of U.S. currency?' I told them, ‘Yes, I have money.' … As soon as they learned I had money, they were so persistent in checking our vehicle,” Crooks recalled. “You should have seen how their eyes lit up.”

Crooks, a security guard, said an uncle loaned him the money to buy a car. He said he bought the rifle on impulse while shopping with his father, a hunter. He said both the money and the rifle, which was disassembled, were in a bag in the back of the car.

“They tore our whole car up. … They just like violated all our stuff. They stepped on our food, poured out our drinks, everything. It was just like very rude,” Crooks said. “It was just crazy, like we were real live drug dealers. And I've never been in trouble with any of that.”

Prosecutors alleged traces of marijuana were in the bag with the money. Crooks disputes that, saying he would have been put in jail if drugs were found.

Crooks said he tried to ask questions about why the money was taken. He said the district attorney's chief investigator, Lewis Garrison, “got mad … put his finger in my face and said, ‘You better get the hell off my freeway and right now!'”

He said he went to the Caddo County courthouse to try to get his money back the next morning and got in another confrontation with Garrison.

NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.
by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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