A citizen’s complaint to the Wyoming Highway Patrol Thursday morning regarding a vehicle speeding over 100 mph on Interstate 80 has resulted in the seizure of over $131,000.00 in U.S. currency.
The citizen complaint came into the Wyoming Highway Patrol Dispatch Center in Cheyenne at 11:30 a.m. and the description of the vehicle was immediately dispatched to a Trooper near Rawlins. The vehicle was found approximately 30 minutes later parked on the eastbound shoulder of the Interstate 12 miles west of Wamsutter or approximately 51 miles west of Rawlins with the male driver asleep behind the wheel.
A Wyoming Highway Patrol drug detection K-9 was deployed around the rental vehicle and the K-9 did alert. Based on the K-9′s alert Troopers searched the inside of the vehicle and found a locked safe in
the trunk. The K-9 again alerted when deployed around the safe. The 23 year-old driver who advised he was a resident of Denver, Colorado, stated he did not have the combination or the key to the safe.
Troopers seized the safe and it was taken to a locksmith for opening. When opened, it was discovered to contain a little over $131,000.00. The driver was unable to come up with a logical explanation as to why he had that much cash in his vehicle in a safe which he did not have the means to open.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation continue to investigate this case. All of the seized currency has been turned over to DCI.
The exact undisclosed currency amount will be held for a period of approximately 6 months for the rightful owner to file a claim for the money. If no one files a legitimate claim during that time period the
currency will then begin an asset forfeiture proceeding.
The asset forfeiture proceedings could take an additional 6 to 8 months. After that time the money will be divided up among the law enforcement agencies involved in the seizure and the investigation
It is believed that the currency came from assets that were derived from, or were used to facilitate criminal activity. The currency could have been proceeds from drug trafficking activities, organized crime or money laundering.
Currency smuggling is a Federal offense. Bulk cash smuggling is defined as concealing and smuggling or attempting to smuggle more than $10,000 in currency or monetary instruments into or out of the United States with the intent to evade the reporting requirement. Bulk cash smuggling is punishable by imprisonment of not more than five years and forfeiture of all property, real or personal, involved in the offense or traceable to the offense.
The individual, who has not been charged at this time, stated he was coming from California with a final destination in Denver, Colorado. He was allowed to proceed on his journey in the rental vehicle. While
searching the vehicle Troopers did discover a copy of a traffic citation issued in the State of Utah from earlier in the morning showing that he had been cited for allegedly traveling 104 mph.