Judge says search that netted 160 pounds of cocaine was illegal

BEACHWOOD, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge in Cleveland said a search that turned up approximately $7 million worth of cocaine was illegal.

U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells ruled after a hearing late last week that Beachwood Police had illegally searched the Holiday Inn hotel room where they found 160 pounds of cocaine.

Authorities said that it was one of the largest drug busts in the region.

Wells on Sunday granted defense lawyers' request to throw out most of the evidence, including the drugs, two guns, $68,000 in cash and a $17,000 Rolex watch. She also suppressed interviews in the case.

Cleveland residents Andre Jenkins and Nathaniel Thompson were to go on trial on Tuesday, but the case was postponed until July 21.

The U.S. Attorney's office is deciding whether to ask the Justice Department to appeal Wells' ruling.

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