Drug money seizedPublished 12:09am Friday, February 3, 2012
NATCHEZ — A traffic stop in Natchez Wednesday night ended with the seizure of more than $90,000 in suspected drug money.
A Natchez Police officer made a traffic stop on an 18-wheeler hauling cars at approximately 8 p.m. The traffic stop was initiated because the truck’s trailer had a light out, but when the officer noticed that one of the vehicles was older and more beaten up than the other cars being hauled, he became suspicious and notified Metro Narcotics, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.
“This (vehicle) was older, it didn’t fit in with what (the driver) was carrying,” he said. “It looked out of place, and intelligence we have gotten lately has been that drug dealers are using this type of vehicle to transport drugs and money.”
When Metro Narcotics arrived on the scene, a drug dog located a hidden compartment under the vehicle. The supposed smugglers had removed part of the vehicle’s gas tank and replaced it with a hydraulically-operated box in which contraband could be hidden.
Inside was $90,530 in $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills, bound with black duct tape in four bundles. The driver of the 18-wheeler disavowed any knowledge of the money, signed a waiver and was released, Mayfield said.
The truck was bound for Houston, an area the sheriff said is a center for interstate drug activity.
The district attorney’s office has been notified and will soon begin forfeiture proceedings for the cash, Mayfield said.
“Per the inter-local agreement (that created Metro Narcotics), if the money is forfieted, the district attorney’s office will get a percentage and Metro Narcotics will get the rest,” he said.
“We want the drug dealers to pay for the war on drugs, not the taxpayers.”
“This will certainly be a shot in the arm for Metro Narcotics.”
Interim Natchez Police Chief Danny White said such seizures are possible when local agencies work together.
“We want to take the drugs off the streets, and if we want to make the drug dealers pay for it, this will help,” he said.
The driver of the 18-wheeler was cited for having an out-of-operation trailer light.