- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Supreme Court has refused to overturn a judge’s ruling that the state’s seizure of cash and other items during a drug bust in 2013 was illegal because a search warrant was invalid.

At the center of the case is $293,270 seized from a north Mississippi apartment. The Narcotics Bureau wanted to keep it. A Quitman County circuit judge ordered the agency to give the money back to Bobby Ray Canada and Beverly Turman.

The Supreme Court, in unanimous ruling Thursday, said the search warrant was invalid because part of it was blank.

Law enforcement officers served the warrant on the Crenshaw apartment where Canada and Turman lived on Aug. 16, 2013. The warrant said the purpose of the search was to establish that the two were drug dealers. In addition to the cash, officials seized a gun.

The attorney for the couple argued law enforcement officers entered the apartment with an invalid search warrant and everything they seized must be returned.

The Narcotics Bureau argued the search warrant was faulty but was not illegal. The agency said the warrant contained enough information to make the search legal.

Justice Josiah Dennis Coleman said the supporting documents must be incorporated by reference and attached at the time the warrant is executed, meaning the time the residence is searched.

Coleman said that wasn’t done and the search warrant was defective.

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