Trooper Michael Mattiza
On April 20, 2003, Trooper Michael Mattiza, Troop F-Ft. Myers, stopped a 1992 Buick in Lee County for excessive window tint, after observing the vehicle’s driver avoiding a faulty equipment checkpoint on State Road 82. During the stop, Trooper Mattiza observed a series of common characteristics of drug activity, which included a strong odor of marijuana, driver nervousness, and conflicting trip itineraries.
Trooper Mattiza also noticed a large bulge in the pocket of the suspect’s pants. A physical pat down resulted in the discovery of over $10,000 in U.S. currency. K-9 Bama was brought to the scene, and used to detect any possible drugs. Bama gave an alert to the currency after it was placed inside the vehicle’s glove box. The suspect continued to give unusual and conflicting stories as to the purpose and origin of the currency in his possession. Under suspicion that the money was drug contraband, it was seized by Trooper Mattiza and deposited according to standard FHP procedure.