Rogers County K-9, Deputy Make Big Money Bust
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - A traffic stop in Rogers County turned up more than $50,000 in cash, bundled in $1,000 increments, vacuum sealed in plastic and wrapped in duct tape.
It's one more in a string of big busts for the county's K-9 interdiction program that has been in operation less than a year.
Since last March, the K-9 deputies in Rogers County have seized cash, illegal guns, stopped a human smuggling ring and arrested many wanted felons, including a man out of Florida who was featured on America's Most Wanted.
When Deputy Nate Cooper pulled over a truck on Interstate 44 Sunday afternoon for a traffic violation, he had no idea he would find a stash of cash hidden inside.
"Ended up locating two bundles in the microwave of the sleeper cab, upon opening them, they were vacuum sealed. You cut into it, you could hear the air come out of it," said Deputy Nate Cooper, Rogers County Sheriff's Office.
It totaled more than $50,000.
After finding the hidden 100s, 50s and 20s all bundled up in $1,000 increments, deputies searched the rest of the truck. When they found some loose bolts on the trailer, they got out their tools and went to work.
After using a mirror to look inside the compartment, they didn't find any additional cash or drugs.
The department's two deputies assigned to work Highway interdiction make more than 20 stops a day .
"That's what awesome. You never know what you're going to find," Cooper said.
The department's K-9 officer, Sandy, does drug searches at schools and also businesses that are worried about drugs and workplace violence, but the rest of the time, she's working the interstate.
Geographically speaking, Oklahoma is the gateway to America for drugs.
There are eight primary drug smuggling corridors in the U.S. We are in corridor F with an intersection of interstates drug runners desire.
"When people see Rogers County cars on I-44, they're truly not there to harass the motoring public trying to get to work. We're trying to see what's coming through our county, knock the loads and drugs and money off the roads," said Sheriff Scott Walton.
The Department of Justice says drug running by way of highways is still far more popular than by boat or plane. The Mexican drug cartels move more than 90 percent of all the cocaine in the U.S., and Mexico is the number one supplier of marijuana, followed closely by Canada.
In addition to stopping drugs from coming to the community, The Rogers County sheriff's department says the highway interdiction program adds money to their budget.
Once the cash or illegal guns or vehicles used illegally are seized and forfeited, the sheriff's department will get to keep 80 percent of the proceeds.