To make sure a suspected drug trafficker stayed in jail while awaiting trial, the prosecutor asked the judge to impose a $1 million cash-only bond. The family delivered it-in duffel bags and cardboard boxes full of five-, 10- and 20-dollar bills wrapped in rubber bands–so much cold cash that it took 30 hours to count it. But to no avail. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled this week that the money was probably obtained through illegal means, and he refused to release the defendant. A second judge then allowed the money to be seized by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
It was the first time state prosecutors used a provision of federal case law to ensure that a flight-risk defendant wouldn’t jump bail. Armando Gamboa Molina is charged with two counts of possession of narcotics for sale, conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering and misconduct with weapons. According to court records, Gamboa Molina, 43, of Phoenix , and seven others were arrested June 2 after two weeks of wiretaps and surveillance. During the bust, authorities seized 36 kilograms of cocaine, 31 pounds of methamphetamine, $1 million, and several weapons. The drugs were worth close to $900,000 and had a street value of approximately $1.9 million.