Police seize $58,500 found in a cooler
El Paso man arrested for money laundering
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

May 10, 2006 -- Police interdiction officers seized $58,520 following an interstate traffic stop early Wednesday morning which also resulted in one felony arrest.

Cpl. Jason Ricketson and Sgt. Cleve Williams stopped a westbound gray 2006 model Dodge Stratus at 12:19 this morning at the 130 mile marker on Interstate 30 for a traffic violation. The driver was identified as 25-year-old Enrique Gonzalez of El Paso.

During the course of the stop, the officers obtained consent to search the car. While searching, they came across a cooler. Inside the lining of that cooler they found some vacuum-sealed bags. The bags were found to contain several bundles of cash, which obviously amounted to several thousands of dollars. As he did not have the proper bank information required to transport that amount of cash, Gonzalez was taken into custody for further investigation of money laundering.

According to officers, anyone depositing or making a bank transaction is required to file certain paperwork with the bank for every $10,000 cash withdrawn or transacted.

The money was seized for counting and the vehicle impounded by a local towing service. After several counts by officers, the money was found  to total $58,520. At that point, Gonzalez was charged with money laundering in an amount greater than $20,000 and less than $100,000, a third-degree felony offense.

Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk said the department plans to work with the district attorney’s office to begin proceedings to keep a portion of the funds for law enforcement purposes. The funds would be distributed through the district attorney’s forfeiture fund.

Gonzalez was arraigned at the county jail later Wednesday and had been released shortly before lunch after posting $10,000 bond, according to jail reports.

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