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Man Sues Over Pot-filled Car

June 06, 2003  | 

When Jose Aguado Cervantes bought a car at a U.S. marshal’s auction four years ago, he didn’t know that 119 pounds of marijuana were stashed in the bumpers.

Cervantes, 67, spent three months in jail after he was stopped at the U.S.-Mexican border, where U.S. customs agents found the hidden pot in his car. The man told agents at the time that he was not aware of the marijuana and had bought the car at a marshal’s auction. He was arrested anyway.

Government officials eventually dropped the charges against Cervantes, but he wants the government to pay for its mistake and the jail time he served awaiting trial.

Cervantes is suing the government for its error, seeking damages for negligence, false imprisonment, and false arrest. An appeals court said he cannot recover damages for false imprisonment or false arrest. However, he is still pursuing his negligence claim.

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