Police officers who searched for marijuana on Darren Richardson’s 2004 BMW 325i found themselves in hot water after totally tearing up the car and finding absolutely no drugs. Geico, Richardson’s insurance firm, pegged the damage at $12,636.42 and declared the car a "total loss."
The September 2011 search was done by officers from the Pompton Lakes Police Department, who detected a "strong odor of raw marijuana" inside the car following a traffic stop.
Positive that marijuana was inside the car, members of three police agencies and federal drug task force detective tore up the car for two days. Three weeks later, the car was returned but its instrument panel and dashboard were already gone. Its seats were torn up, gear shift ripped out, wires left hanging everywhere.
Pompton Lakes Police Department has probed the incident and its officers are facing possible litigation using taxpayers’ wallet. The incident left some experts wondering whether resources were wasted in pursuit of what many consider as a minor infraction.
Launched in 1998, the BWM E46 platform represents the brand’s fourth generation 3 Series entry-level compact executive car, replacing the E36 sedans. Introduced initially in sedan form, the E46 was released in touring and coupé models in 2000, and in compact variant in 2001.
Although the compact version of the E46 was the model to be introduced, it was also the first to be replaced when BMW launched the 1 Series in September 2004. In 2002, the E46 was face-lifted, donning new bumpers, redesigned headlights and a stiffer chassis.
In addition, BMW installed new and more powerful engines on the 316i and 318i models. By mid-2005, BMW replaced the E46 sedans with the new E90, and later on, the E46 touring followed suit. BMW is still producing and offering the E46 coupé, convertible and M3 as of May 2006, although it will commence selling the E92 coupé starting September 2006.
Since the launch timing of the remaining E90 models remains undetermined, BMW is expected to continue production of the E46 into 2007. The E46 was considered a success in every market where it was sold and was even regarded the performance benchmark in its class. BMW sold the most number of E46 in 2002, delivering 561,249 units around the world.