On Monday, April 1, 2013 at 3:15am a Cleveland Police Officer observed a gray passenger car traveling south bound at a high rate of speed on US Highway 59.
A traffic stop was conducted and the occupants of the vehicle were identified as residents from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon speaking with the driver and the passenger of the vehicle, the Officer discovered conflicting stories when speaking separately.
The Officer received consent to search the vehicle. While searching the vehicle for illegal items, the Officer discovered a safe located in the rear of the vehicle. The Officer continued an investigation into the traffic stop finding out several discrepancies while speaking with the occupants. The Officer was notified of a large amount of currency inside the safe.
A computer check of the driver found he did not possess a valid driver’s license. The driver was arrested for this offense. A further check found the driver had a lengthy arrest record.
The safe was seized by the Officer so a continued investigation into money laundering could be conducted. No cooperation was provided with allowing Officers to view the contents of the safe. A valid explanation could not be given as to how much money was in the safe. It is believed the money inside the safe is linked to the sales of illegal narcotics.
With assistance from the Liberty County District Attorney’s Office, a petition was submitted to District Judge Mark Morefield who presides over the 75th District Court, requesting that a search be conducted of the safe’s contents. After reviewing the petition, Judge Morefield signed the search warrant allowing entry into the safe.
Upon execution of the search warrant, Officers discovered over two-hundred thousand dollars in currency. Seizure of the money is being processed, an ongoing investigation is being conducted into the money laundering and possible other criminal activities.