A special task force of law officers in the Kingsville area showed off their latest seizure of suspected drug money on Tuesday. It was about $600,000.
It came from a traffic stop that happened Monday afternoon on U.S. Highway 77. An agent with the Kingsville Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force pulled over a van for a traffic violation.
"What they had done is cut out a portion of the seat and built a compartment to house either drugs going north and currency going south," Task Force Commander Willie Vera said. "But the compartment was within the seat itself."
At City Hall on Tuesday, the task force showed off the cash they had seized.
Authorities said there were some 30 bundles of currency that had been inserted into the compartments within the seats. A task force agent made the stop, but it was a Department of Public Safety trooper that noticed an abnormality in the seats.
Agents said that all six seats in the van had compartments that were fit to house multiple kilo-sized packages.
"Only four were loaded with currency," said a task force agent, who did not want to disclose his identity. "There's a reason all six were built with compartments. They were obviously moving a large amount of narcotics northbound, so we have no doubt throughout investigations that this money is utilized for the purchase of narcotics and the payment back into Mexico."
Agents said the compartments could have been used to move anything from methamphetamines to heroin or cocaine. As for the cash, the task force said it will go before the district attorney, but more than likely the task force will get to keep a majority of the funds and use it to pay for things like body armor, weapons, uniforms and training.
There were four men in the van. Three were U.S. citizens and one was a Mexican national. All four were arrested for money laundering and placed in the Kleberg County Jail. The task force has asked us not to release their names pending their ongoing investigation.