Police Seize $39,500 At Phoenix Airport From Man Who Planned To Buy A Truck

By Ginny Reese

April 20, 2021

Semi-trucks in parking lot at night

A man from North Carolina was fly to Arizona to buy a semi truck when he got an unexpected setback.

AZ Family reported that Jerry Johnson was carrying $39,500 with him to purchase a truck for his business. However, when he made it to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, police seized all of his money.

The incident took place back in August of 2020.

Flying with large amounts of cash domestically isn't a crime. Police said that because Johnson could be doing something wrong, they took the money away.

Johnson owns a North Carolina trucking company called Triple J Logistics. He traveled more than 2,000 miles to Arizona to attend a truck auction that could help expand his business.

Johnson said, "I saw that they had the model and brand of the truck I was looking for, so I was going to go to the auction and buy the truck out there."

Once Johnson landed, he was stopped by an undercover Phoenix Police officer at baggage claim.

Johnson said, "He didn't ask me anything about my company, he said I was part of a money laundering investigation."

Police then seized his money and let him go.

Institute for Justice attorney Paul Avelar said, "He can account for this money from his business from a loan from his uncle, there’s no evidence that this is money that was going to used to commit a crime, was the proceeds of a crime, no nothing."

The Maricopa County Superior Court judge said that Johnson didn't prove the money wasn't going to be used in a crime.

But, Johnson is still hoping to get the money back one day. “We’re just barely making it. We’re holding on, but that extra truck was extra income and revenue that we could have had, and it just set us back a lot,” he said.

Avelar said he believes the judge messed up and that they will win the appeal.

Photo: Getty Images

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