$32,000 seized during traffic stop

On Jan. 19 at approximately 10:45 a.m., a Coconino County Sheriff's Office deputy assigned to the Williams Patrol District observed a traffic violation. He stopped the rental vehicle with Florida license plates on Interstate 40 at mile post 171 in a west bound lane in the area of the Deer Farm exit.

During this traffic contact the deputy detected the odor of burnt marijuana. The 33-year-old driver and 29-year-old passenger, both of Louisiana, denied the use or presence of marijuana. The deputy obtained voluntary consent to search the vehicle.

During the search, the deputy found three bundles of cash bound by rubber bands in various items of luggage in the trunk. The three bundles contained approximately $9,000, $10,000, and $13.000 for a total of about $32,000. An Arizona Department of Public Safety K9 unit arrived and a trained drug detection dog alerted on the cash, indicating that it had been in close proximity to illegal drugs.

The driver and passenger, who both gave conflicting statements during interviews, were released pending further investigation by the Northern Arizona Metro Street Crimes Task Force. The cash was seized and held as evidence.

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