Two people traveling west on Interstate 10 through Guadalupe County were detained and more than $50,000 in cash seized from their vehicle following a traffic stop, authorities said.
No arrests were made but the presence of the money in a secret compartment in the car was suspicious enough that members of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Narcotics Lt. John Flores said.
The car’s fuel reservoir was adapted to only fill half way while the other half remained empty, he said.
“The gas tank was manipulated to appear to be whole when in fact half of it was a false compartment believed to be used to traffic narcotics and US currency back and forth between traffickers,” Flores said.
Investigators seized more than $52,000 in cash, he said. The seizure was the result of an investigation begun during a vehicle stop for traffic violations about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in the westbound lanes of I-10, Flores said.
Cpl. Dustin Crawford conducted a traffic stop 2007 Toyota Camry, driven by a man with a woman as the passenger, on traffic violations near the 598 mile marker, Flores said.
The man and woman made different statements about where they were going and where they had left, among other suspicion-raising actions, so Crawford got their consent to search the car, Flores said.
Crawford’s K9 partner Eddie searched the car and led Crawford to a backpack with a large amount of cash, Flores said.
“A positive alert resulted in Cpl. Crawford locating a backpack containing two large ziplock baggies containing US currency,” the lieutenant wrote in a statement he released Wednesday afternoon. “A further inspection of the vehicle revealed an aftermarket hidden compartment in the gas tank section of the vehicle that was empty.”
Sheriff’s deputies turned over the man and woman, the cash, the car and the investigation to DEA agents who continue to investigate, Flores said.