Traffic stop nets $38,480 of suspected drug money
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Oct. 16, 2006 - Sulphur Spring Police seized $38,480 from a Dallas couple around midnight Saturday, bringing the city officer's total of seized money to just over $300,000 so far this year.
The Dallas man, 27, remained in the county jail Monday morning on a Dallas County warrant related to a family violence assault incident. Neither the man, nor woman were charged in connection with the found money, according to Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Buddy Williams.
Williams stopped the pair around 12:30 a.m. Sunday at the 128 mile marker on Interstate 30 west for following too close to other vehicles and failure to maintain a single lane of travel.
While Williams was waiting on a computer return of the pair's background, he spoke to each about their trip. He became very suspicious something was amiss when "their stories about the purpose of their trip were way off." They also told him that neither had ever been arrested, but the computer background check showed both to have prior a criminal history for drugs, and showed that the driver was wanted in Dallas County for assaulting his wife.
Based on the conflicting stories and past history, Williams obtained consent from both the man and woman to search the vehicle. While inspecting a passenger side door, Williams noticed the built-in ashtray to be loose. The ashtray popped off, allowing him to see down inside the door. Eight brown-paper wrapped bundles were visible behind the door panel.
At that point, Williams retrieved drug dog Atos from his vehicle. The dog alerted on the door. The bundles were retrieved and, once unwrapped, determined to contain large amounts of cash. Both the man and woman denied any knowledge the money existed, much less where it came from or who it belonged to, according to Williams.
The money was seized. The man was taken in custody on the Dallas warrant. The woman was released without any charges being filed. The money, counted at the police department, was determined to be $38,480 which will be turned over to the district attorney's office for forfeiture proceedings in hope of claiming the cash for law enforcement purposes.
The money seizure marks the third this year by police interdiction officers, bringing their total to $311,330 seized since January. They seized more than $214,300 following a stop on Jan. 7, and $58,520 from a May 10 stop.