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Horne: Attorney General’s office nets conviction on money laundering case

PHOENIX (Wednesday, May 2, 2012) -- A truck driver arrested in 2011 with approximately $170,000 in cash in a duffel bag tainted with narcotics has been convicted on charges of Illegally Conducting an Enterprise and Money Laundering, Attorney General Tom Horne announced today. 

"Every dollar spent on illegal drugs represents an assault on our community," Horne said. "I applaud the DPS and the attorneys in this office for their continued hard work and vigilance to ensure that anyone transporting money that may have connection to the drug trade is brought to justice." 

51 year-old Harold Stuart of Covington, Ga., was arrested by Department of Public Safety officers in August of 2011 during a traffic stop on I-17 in which Stuart, who was exhibiting nervous behavior and had irregularities in his log book, was found to be carrying the cash. The money was wrapped in yellow tape and stuffed in a duffel bag. Testing showed Stuart's fingerprints to be on the tape and bag and a DPS canine detected the presence of narcotics. Stuart told a DPS officer that he did not know how the bag got in his truck, and he declined to make additional statements to police about the money. 

In the course of their investigation, police learned that between 2008 through 2009 Stuart reported income of only $14,379.00. A review of Stuart's financial records revealed there were large deposits of money into his Maryland bank account while he was in Jamaica. During trial, evidence was presented regarding a financial background investigation on the defendant. The opinion of the investigating officer was that the defendant could not support his lifestyle nor could his income plausibly explain $170,000.00 in cash. 

Both offenses are class 3 felonies with a sentencing range of 2 to 3.5 years in prison. The judge has the discretion to sentence the defendant to probation or prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 31, 2012.