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ADOT officers at I-40 port of entry seize $29,000 hidden in cooler

Truck arrived with no registration, no trailer and a suspicious story
August 03, 2017

Sanders POE Seized CashPHOENIX – Arizona Department of Transportation officers seized $29,000 hidden in a small cooler when a truck driver and passenger arrived at an Interstate 40 port of entry near New Mexico with no registration, no trailer and a suspicious story.

The officers, whose primary duty is making sure commercial vehicles operate safely and legally in Arizona, found the money Tuesday, Aug. 1, after the truck driver and his passenger gave permission to search the cab for paperwork that would help identify the truck.

The pair told officers at the Sanders Port of Entry that they had no knowledge of the money, which was in stacks tied with rubber bands, and that they had been sent by the truck’s owner to pick up the vehicle because it had been abandoned in Gallup, New Mexico.

A check of the semi’s vehicle identification number and license plate showed that the truck set out from Sacramento, California, and traveled through Utah, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico before arriving in Arizona – all without picking up any cargo.

ADOT officers sought assistance from the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, which dispatched a drug-sniffing K-9 unit. While there were no drugs in the truck, the dog picked up the residual scent of drugs at various spots along the vehicle. The dog also alerted officers that the money found in the cab had the scent of drugs.

ADOT officers seized the money and arrested the two men, who were booked into the Apache County Jail on misdemeanor charges including providing false information and commercial vehicle violations. The semi was towed to a holding facility for the owner to retrieve.

ADOT officers are continuing to investigate the truck and the two individuals.

In addition to making sure commercial vehicles are safe to drive on Arizona’s highways and have proper permits, ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division officers at ports of entry coordinate with local law enforcement agencies when necessary.

The Arizona Ombudsman – Citizens Aide helps citizens to resolve ongoing issues with State Agencies.

Civil RightsTitle VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ADOT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. Persons that require a reasonable accommodation based on language or disability should contact ADOT’s Civil Rights Office at civilrightsoffice@azdot.gov. Requests should be made as early as possible to ensure the State has an opportunity to address the accommodation.

De acuerdo con el título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964 y la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades (ADA por sus siglas en inglés), el Departamento de Transporte de Arizona (ADOT por sus siglas en inglés) no discrimina por raza, color, nacionalidad, edad, género o discapacidad.  Personas que requieren asistencia (dentro de lo razonable) ya sea por el idioma o por discapacidad deben ponerse en contacto con la Oficina de Derechos Civiles en civilrightsoffice@azdot.gov. Las solicitudes deben hacerse lo más pronto posible para asegurar que el equipo encargado del proyecto tenga la oportunidad de hacer los arreglos necesarios.