RENO, Nev. – Two separate lawsuits accuse a rural Nevada sheriff's deputy of stopping travelers on a lonely stretch of Interstate 80 to make illegal drug searches, and confiscating tens of thousands of dollars for the county without bringing charges.
Two men who were traveling through northern Nevada last year offer strikingly similar accounts of their stops by the same Humboldt County deputy near the town of Winnemucca, 165 miles east of Reno.
According to the lawsuits, neither search produced drugs or an arrest, but in one case the deputy took a briefcase with $50,000 and in the other seized $13,800 and a handgun.
The lawsuits filed in federal court in Reno say they men were told they'd be released only if they forfeited their cash.
Two Reno lawyers representing the county didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment. And Chief Deputy District Attorney Kevin Pasquale says his office wouldn't discuss the case.