West Alabama Police Seize $320,000 Hidden in Car’s Gas Tank
Police in West Alabama's Sumter County seized $320,000 cash hidden in the gas tank of a car pulled over during a routine traffic stop, according to court documents filed Thursday afternoon.
In a Fruits of Crime Forfeiture complaint, 17th Circuit District Attorney Greg Griggers said the defendant was driving through Sumter County when he was stopped for driving without a plainly visible car tag and improper lane usage.
When officers ran the vehicle through various databases, it was "revealed that the vehicle has been involved in drug smuggling" in the past, Griggers said in the complaint.
The driver gave police permission to search the vehicle, and narcotics agents eventually discovered $319,290 cash "hidden inside the fuel tank of the vehicle."
Griggers said the money was "wrapped in a manner consistent with known smuggling operations," and that the driver denied that the cash belonged to him.
The staggering amount of money was seized by agents with the 17th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, who combat narcotics activity in Greene, Marengo and Sumter Counties.
As of Friday afternoon, the driver of the vehicle had not been charged with any crimes and his identity will not be published here.
The seized funds, though, are believed to be the result of illegal and unlawful activity, and Griggers has asked a judge to order the almost $320,000 to be distributed to the drug task force and used to further their mission of battling drug trafficking in the area.
Since its creation in 2011, the 17th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force has consistently made headlines for huge busts and seizures as they take on Mexican cartels smuggling drugs and cash through West Alabama, primarily on the I-20 corridor.
They found almost $400,000 cash hidden in women's shoes on a bus headed to Mexico in 2013, seized $240,000 cash in a raid in 2014, discovered 187 pounds of marijuana being moved through Greene County in 2016 and confiscated almost 200 pounds of cocaine hidden in a tractor-trailer later the same year.