Wednesday, March 16, 2011
THP Makes Record Seizure Near Monterey
At approximately 10:31 a.m. on Saturday, Adams, a Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Interdiction Plus Trooper, stopped a 2005 Freightliner tractor trailer with California tags for following too closely at mile marker 306 westbound on Interstate-40. A standard commercial vehicle inspection ensued, where Trooper Adams became suspicious after speaking to the driver and finding discrepancies in his log book. After requesting and subsequently obtaining consent to search the trailer and tractor’s cab, the Trooper sought assistance from the Monterey Police Department, an Interdiction Plus partner. THP Interdiction Plus Team Leader Michael Loftis also assisted.
Upon arriving at the scene, Monterey Officer Larry Bates deployed his K-9, receiving alerts on the load of the trailer. The vehicle was then moved to a local trucking company where it was off-loaded. Officers discovered that duct taped bundles within sealed cases of bottled water filled the trailer. Officers found more than $4 million of U.S. currency inside the duct taped bundles. (Authorities seized a total amount of $4,078,713.)
“I-40 is one of the top drug trafficking corridors in the nation. This seizure reflects the importance of interdiction efforts by law enforcement,” said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons. “Colonel Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and I are proud of the troopers involved in this seizure. Their efforts are sending a message to drug traffickers that we will not tolerate their activities,” said Commissioner Gibbons.
Federal authorities charged Armando Guzman, 42, of Moreno Valley, Calif., and co-driver Francisco Javier Cruz, 44, of San Jacinto, Calif., with interstate travel with intent to promote a drug trafficking conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1952(a)(3). The Tennessee Highway Patrol also seized the tractor trailer.
The Interdiction Plus program is a statewide law enforcement initiative led by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Initiated in fall 2007, partners in the program include at least 300 officers from 115 local law enforcement agencies across Tennessee. These officers are dedicated to the interdiction of all crimes, threats, and hazards. Officers are specially trained to work closely in gathering and sharing criminal information.