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Apparent high roller gets bulk of cash back

By Walter Geiger The case against 50-year-old Don Merritt is similar to many others that arise out of early morning traffic stops except for one thing. Merritt was carrying cash – lots of cash. Merritt who lives at 147 Lansdowne Dr. in Griffin, was cruising Veterans Parkway at 3:21 a.m. on June 23, 2016 in a white 2007 Escalade when he was stopped for having a headlight out. LCSO Dep. Michael Martin noticed the smell of alcohol on Merritt and the odor of marijuana in the Cadillac. Merritt had a large number of $100 bills in his pockets and Martin and BPD personnel did a search of his car. It turned up over five and a half ounces of marijuana and cash – $24,953 in cash to be exact. Authorities filed to seize the Escalade and the cash. Merritt appeared in court here Aug. 18 and pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to three years probation and a search and specimen clause. As part of his plea deal, Merritt forked over $9000 of the cash. He was allowed to keep the remainder of his money and the Escalade. After sentencing, he was returned to the jail in Spalding County where he is facing other charges. At the time of his arrest, Merritt claimed the cash was proceeds from a lawsuit he had won.

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