On appeal from the Superior Court, Law Division, Gloucester County.
Fritz and Long. The opinion of the court was delivered by Long, J.A.D. Fritz, P.J.A.D. (concurring).
[202 NJSuper Page 224] The State here challenges an order of the trial judge denying its motion for forfeiture of a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro and $1,440 in cash and directing their return to their owner, James Bruno,
Sr. We affirm the order insofar as the automobile is concerned and reverse as to the currency.
The case arose when the State filed a complaint pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:64-1 seeking forfeiture of a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro and $1440 belonging to Bruno on the basis that he had been charged with violating the Controlled Dangerous Substance laws. The complaint alleged that upon execution of a search warrant numerous types of controlled dangerous substances and drug paraphernalia were found in the motor vehicle which had been used to transport a large quantity of methamphetamine, and that the $1440 was found in Bruno's possession, "together with a substantial amount of methamphetamine and a written record of drug transactions." Bruno filed an answer in which he admitted ownership of the Camaro but denied all else.
The facts which gave rise to the filing of the complaint are as follows: On the evening of June 23, 1983, after a lengthy investigation of Bruno, police obtained a search warrant covering Bruno's person, his residence in Turnersville, and his 1979 Chevrolet Camaro. Thereafter they searched Bruno's home and seized the following drug-related materials and paraphernalia:
Two clear plastic bags containing numerous green and white capsules.
One clear plastic bag containing a white powder substance.
One metal pan containing marijuana, seeds and stems, and burned marijuana cigarettes.
One Ohaus triple beam scale.
Numerous plastic bags (odor and residue of marijuana).
One blue plastic container, containing one spring balance scale.
One black plastic film canister with gray lid containing numerous red/white capsules.
Two pages off kitchen calendar containing numerical calculations.
One clear plastic bag containing marijuana.
The green and white capsules were later identified by the New Jersey State Police Laboratory as drug look-alikes containing a harmless substance. There is no indication in the record that the white ...