It's unclear just what Demarco Alonzo Thomas thought the police could do for him. Thomas allegedly agreed to transport drug money from North Carolina to Tucson for a cartel, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
He called police last month after he lost $20,000 of the drug money and was threatened by the cartel. But officers found the missing $20,000 stashed in Thomas' suitcase and wallet. The money was confiscated and Thomas was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and racketeering.
Thomas told police that he transported drug money for the cartel on three separate occasions. He was reportedly paid $1,000 for each suitcase of money he flew to Tucson.
On his most recent trip, however, he ran into some trouble. After dropping the suitcases off with drug dealers in Tucson, Thomas reportedly received a threatening phone call from his contact in North Carolina, telling him his delivery was $20,000 short.
Thomas turned to the police, asking them to write him a phony receipt claiming they had confiscated the money. Instead of granting Thomas' request, however, the officers arrested him and searched his suitcase and personal belongings.
They found $17,000 worth of $100 bills in the pockets of a pair of jeans, and another $3,000 in Thomas' wallet. When officers asked Thomas to sign paperwork stating they were going to seize the cash, he refused.
He'll now likely face charges for money laundering and racketeering. Under federal law, any person who knowingly takes part in a financial transaction involving money made through illegal means is guilty of money laundering.
If convicted, Thomas could spend up to 20 years in prison. Transporting dirty money across state lines is also a federal crime and punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
- Man loses drug money, asks Tucson police for help (CBS 5 News)
- Drug Charges (FindLaw)
- Drug Trafficking/Distribution (FindLaw)
- Richard Dale Stokley Executed for Murdering 13-Year-Old Girls (FindLaw's Phoenix Criminal Law Blog)