MINER -- A weekend traffic stop near Miner resulted in a seizure of a large amount of cash, after a daylong investigation.
According to a Monday news release from Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter, a vehicle was stopped by Will McCormick, a Miner officer, for speeding on Interstate 55 Sunday morning. He and Scott County Deputy Ron Meredith conducted a search of the vehicle after the driver was arrested for operating a vehicle without a valid license and other traffic offenses.
The driver, whose name is being withheld pending the filing of formal charges, told officers there may have been narcotics hidden in the vehicle, Walter said. Officers then located what appeared to be a small amount of marijuana seeds inside the vehicle.
The Scott County K-9 unit, Deputy Paul Dirden and Jaro the dog were called to the scene. Jaro indicated there may be additional narcotics inside, and after conducting a thorough search of the vehicle, officers located $148,955, vacuum sealed and wrapped in duct tape, which was hidden behind a panel inside the vehicle.
"It was well-hidden," Walter said. "The compartment was designed to hide the money -- it wasn't easy to get to."
The driver told officers he was paid to drive the vehicle from a border town in Texas to a St. Louis location, where the vehicle was to be sold. He parked the vehicle at a motel parking lot for a short period of time and went to get something to eat. The driver was again contacted, and told to drive the vehicle back to Texas, he said.
Walter said the seized currency was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for forfeiture. In a case like this, he continued, it is split between the agencies involved, with about 80 percent going back to the agencies.
"This is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when officers from different agencies work as a team," said Walter, who was present at the scene. He commended officers involved for a job well done.
The case is still under investigation.