A traffic stop on Interstate 70 has resulted in the seizure of $174,000 in suspected drug money by the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.
A Greenwood woman driving a 2002 Mercury Marquis westbound on I-70 was stopped at about 2:10 a.m. Friday by Deputy Dwight Simmons after he spotted her driving erratically. When the woman, 26-year-old Audrey Williams, nervously gave conflicting information to Simmons about where she was heading, the deputy asked for and received consent to search her car. His canine partner, Deuce, indicated the presence of drugs in the car.
Sheriff Mark Frisbie told the BannerGraphic that no drugs were found in the vehicle, but Simmons did locate a false compartment between the rear seat and the trunk where the bundled money was concealed. The compartment was in the area indicated by the canine.
"They did a nice job on the compartment," Frisbie said of whoever installed the hiding spot. "If you hadn't been trained, you wouldn't have found it."
Williams denied ownership of the money and said she did not know it was in the car, which was registered to her, Frisbie said.
Simmons reported that Williams told him she was moving to Texas from Greenwood when he stopped her, however, she had few belongings in the car and no suitcase. The car had Texas registration.
After Williams signed over the money to authorities, she was released without criminal charges filed against her.
Frisbie said the $174,00 will now go through a forfeiture hearing to be placed in the county prosecutor's asset forfeiture fund. That fund is used to purchase equipment for area law enforcement.