JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) - Friday night, two Michigan State Police officers from the Jackson post pulled a car over for a minor traffic violation and end up seizing almost a quarter of a million dollars--the third largest amount of money seized by the police in Jackson County history.
It could have been another routine traffic stop for "following too closely" along I-94 Friday night. But as it turned out, two MSP officers seized $220,000 in cash and police say it could be drug money.
"This is a big case for a uniformed officer, because narcotics traffickers are not going to approach a uniformed officer. So to be able to have that traffic stop and find that probable cause, that tells you that officer is working effectively and within the parameters that he can. And just keeping his eyes open and being aware of what's out there on the roadway," said Lt. Joseph Thomas with MSP.
Officers need to have probable cause before they can search a vehicle and Lt. Thomas says the officers thought the driver could be involved in criminal activity simply by talking to him. That's when police asked if they could search the vehicle. The driver consented and a K-9 unit was called. No drugs were found in the car, but the dogs zeroed in on a suitcase full of the cash. Thomas says that means the money was around drugs at one point
"That's why we have to continue the investigation to determine where these individuals had been in the City of Detroit and where were they were going to in the City of Chicago and figure out what it is on either end of that investigation," said Lt. Thomas.
He says the driver can appear in court and try to explain why he was carrying that much cash. If his reason is plausuble, he could get it back.
Also found locked in that suitcase was the booklet from the Michigan Secretary of State "What Every Driver Must Know," which includes information on "following too closely."