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February 03, 2007
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Michigan state trooper finds $355,000 hidden in car


HARTFORD — A 34-year-old Chicago-area man was taken into custody after police officers, aided by a drug-sniffing dog, discovered an estimated $355,000 in cash hidden behind the door panels of a car that the man was driving.

Michigan State Police Trooper Jim Gillespie of the Bridgman post said he was patrolling I-94 on Wednesday afternoon when he stopped the driver of the westbound Honda Accord for tailgating, about 30 miles west of Kalamazoo.

Gillespie said the driver, whose name was not released, told him he was on his way home after visiting Detroit.

The trooper became suspicious of the man’s story and asked for permission to search the car, to which the driver consented, Gillespie told the Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph.

Gillespie called the Van Buren County sheriff’s office for help and Deputy Scott Schmidt arrived with the department’s drug-sniffing dog, Xago. When the animal appeared to detect something in the vehicle, the officers started pulling off the door panels and discovered the money in shrink-wrapped plastic packets, most labeled “$50,000.”

“That’s a lot of money,” Gillespie said. “It’s the most I’ve ever gotten in a single traffic stop in my career.”

No illegal drugs were found but the money and the car were seized under the state’s civil forfeiture law, the trooper said.


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