Border Bust Finds Over 1.2 Million in Big Rigby Jana Ritter - Published: 10/19/2015
Last week a Texas state trooper pulled over a truck driver for speeding and he noticed a slight detail that set this driver apart from other truck drivers: Dry cleaned clothes. While some might overlook this as completely insignificant, the trooper found it highly suspicious and he ordered the tractor-trailer to undergo a thorough search at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International border crossing. It turns out the trooper's instincts were right because not only did investigators find over $1.2 million carefully hidden in the truck, but the truck driver basically admitted that transporting drug money had become a regular gig.
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The incident began at around 6:37 a.m. last Monday, when a state trooper stopped a blue 2007 Peterbilt truck towing a white 2001 Great Dane trailer near the Love's Travel Stop on U.S. 281. The trooper initially cited 51-year-old Roman M. Sanchez for speeding and for displaying expired registration, but he became suspicious during their interaction. He noticed that unlike the regular appearance of truck drivers with the rumpled clothing typical of the OTR lifestyle, Sanchez looked a little too polished and his clothing was pressed and dry cleaned. According to the affidavit filed by a Texas Department of Public Safety, the investigator stated, "These items are not consistent with everyday truck drivers, but are consistent with narcotics and currency couriers."
It was enough to prompt the state trooper to have a K-9 search the tractor-trailer and when the dog alerted to the smell of something suspicious, the trooper ordered the truck driver to undergo a thorough search at the Hidalgo-Reynosa bridge. There, the investigators discovered a secret compartment with a dozen bundles wrapped in brown tape. Together the bundles contained over $1.2 million and after it was discovered, Sanchez completely co-operated with investigators and confessed to knowingly transporting drug money. According to the affidavit, Sanchez said that he met a man in Chicago where he picked up the cash and although he said he didn’t know who the man was; he admitted, "…the U.S. currency was proceeds from a previous narcotics load taken by an unknown individual." Sanchez further revealed that he had transported bulk currency concealed in the same manner and within the same semi-trailer on at least five prior occasions. He also said that he had been transporting the currency to the country of Mexico.
Sanchez has been charged with possession with intent to conceal proceeds from drug trafficking and federal money laundering, and he may also likely have his commercial driver’s license revoked.