Lumberton ordered to return seized vehicle to owner

Lumberton Mayor Larry Strahan is pointing his finger at the city's embattled police chief.

A judge is ordering the city to return a seized vehicle which was illegally confiscated over five months ago.

The order says the city must return the car to its owner, who is a Lamar County resident. The car has been housed in a body shop for the last five months, costing the city $5,500 to retrieve it from the business.

Strahan says less than one ounce of marijuana was found in the car, and Chief Maurice Hammond ordered the vehicle to be held, which is against the law.

"I mean, if he'd been aware of what was going on in the law he would have known that they already ruled way back that they had to have more than an ounce of marijuana to get a seizure," said Strahan. And it just shows that he didn't pay attention to what he was doing."

Strahan recently called for Hammond's firing after the police chief was indicted last week on eight counts of federal fraud.

The board of aldermen voted to suspend Hammond with pay until his trial next year.