Witness in Crittenden Police Probe Says Money Forfeited Less Than Money Seized

December 4, 2003 - Posted at 8:15 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal court witness told a jury in Little Rock yesterday that police in Crittenden County reported less than the total of money they seized from him during a traffic stop.

On trial is former West Memphis police officer Joseph Applegate, who is charged with one count of theft of an interstate shipment and two counts of money laundering.  Fabian Ruiz of Tucson, Arizona, testified he had nearly $800,000 when he was stopped in 2001.  Police reported seizing a little more than $500,000.

Prosecutors say Applegate went on a spending spree after the seizure.  Applegate's lawyers say the former officer came into money by selling guns for cash, winning at casinos and through inheritance.

The trial began Monday and is expected to last two weeks.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)