The Sevier County attorney's office will drop drug charges against two California men after the 6th District Court ordered the return of more than $1 million confiscated when the two were arrested.
The money was initially believed to have been obtained through illegal drug transactions."I will move to dismiss the case without prejudice," Sevier County Attorney Don Brown told the Deseret News Tuesday. But Brown said, "We will refile some charges as soon as we complete further investigation and get additional evidence."
Ken Lee Medlock, 40, and Mark D. Budaska, 36, both of Marina Del Rey, Calif., were initially charged with possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy or attempt to possess a controlled substance.
Law enforcement officers confiscated $1,137,658 in cash when the two men were apprehended Sept. 1 on I-70 in Sevier County. The money was discovered under a pickup truck camper shell. Police officers reported they found the money with the help of a drug-trained dog.
At a Nov. 15 forfeiture hearing, 6th District Judge Don V. Tibbs ordered the cache returned to the two men after it was determined there was no evidence to show the money was illegally obtained through drug transactions. Court testimony indicated the money came from the sale of diamonds.
At the hearing Shimon Yanay, a Los Angeles jeweler, testified that in 1979 he had cut and offered three large diamonds for sale. At that time they were valued at about $400,000, Yanay said.
He said he went to New York to meet an an interested there. Yanay testified that the buyer failed to appear, and that he gave the diamonds to a friend who had found a customer willing to pay $1,137,658 for them. Yanay said he hired the two men to bring the money to him.
Medlock and Budaska were in Salt Lake City for some time after being released on $50,000 bail each, but have now returned to California.
Brown said about half the money has been returned to Medlock and Budaska, but that the Internal Revenue Service has filed a lien on $580,000 of the total amount.