Prince George's County police said yesterday they had discovered a million dollars in cash believed to be profits from illegal drug sales stashed in the attic of a Camp Springs house where the bodies of a father and daughter were found last week.
Investigators found the cash -- $1,002,121, most of it in $20 bills -- in two suitcases late Friday while looking for clues in the mysterious deaths, police spokesman Cpl. Bruce Gentile said.
Police said the county can claim the cash if it can prove the money is the profits of illegal drug trafficking. The discovery of the cash was not disclosed until yesterday because investigators were counting the money, police said.
Police found the bodies of Dennis White, 33, and Donna White, 15, at their Old Branch Avenue home in Camp Springs eights days ago. The two had been dead about 10 days, police said. The state medical examiner's office, which has ruled out shooting, stabbing and strangulation in the deaths, is conducting chemical tests on the Whites' tissue and blood.
A police source said that White, who is from Jamaica, had been under surveillance by county vice officers as part of an investigation of a drug ring with New York connections that police believe is responsible for much of the distribution of cocaine and marijuana in the upper Southern Avenue area.
White paid cash for the $102,000 house in November, according to county records. Last week, police impounded four late-model vehicles from the home's driveway as part of their investigation: a Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Nissan 300ZX and a Chevy van. The house and cars, as well as the cash, could be claimed by the county in a forfeiture procedure, Deputy County Attorney Michael Connaughton said.
Under state law, any money or property that officials can prove was obtained through illegal drug transactions or gambling can be claimed by the local jurisdiction, Connaughton said.
Maj. James Ross, head of the county police Criminal Investigations Division, said the department was forwarding information about White to the county attorney, who will decide whether to file a forfeiture petition with Prince George's Circuit Court.
The Whites' case is the second involving mysterious deaths in the county in three months. Three persons were found shot to death Feb. 28 in their home near Glenarden. In both instances, the houses were equipped with expensive burglar alarms and showed no signs of forced entry or struggle. Expensive furnishings also were left untouched in both houses.
Ross said that there is no connection between the two cases "at this point in time."