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Trucker gets back $39,500 police took from him at Sky Harbor Airport

Jerry Johnson's lawyers said Maricopa County has finally paid back the money that was seized by police nearly three years ago.

PHOENIX — The trucker who had $39,500 taken by police in August 2020 at Sky Harbor Airport has finally gotten his money back. 

Jerry Johnson had traveled to the Valley with a large amount of cash to pay for a truck he needed for his business. But Phoenix police seized his money before he could get to the auction, suspecting Johnson was possibly a "drug courier."

Despite not charging Johnson with a crime, police proceeded with the process of seizing control of his cash. Johnson has spent the last couple of years fighting the forfeiture in court and his lawyers said he's recently gotten back his money.

The Arizona Court of Appeals found Johnson's due process rights were violated because the lower court mistakenly placed Johnson with the burden of proving his cash wasn't connected to a crime.  

>> VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Camionero recibe $39,500 que la policía le había confiscado hace años

The Institute for Justice represented Johnson in court and said the state recently wrote him a check for $40,298, which includes a small amount of interest that's accrued since the money was seized. 

In a statement, Johnson said he was grateful to finally have his money returned so he can invest it into his business.

“That the government could take my money, never charge me with a crime but hold onto my savings for so long is outrageous," Johnson said.

The nonprofit law firm said it will continue litigating Johnson's case after the state declined to pay attorney fees.

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