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News / Northwest

Feds seize $200,000 in Southern Oregon traffic stop

By Nick Morgan, Mail Tribune
Published: January 8, 2021, 8:37am

MEDFORD, Ore. — Federal prosecutors are seeking to take possession of more than $200,000 found inside a rented van during a traffic stop even though no criminal charges have been filed against anyone in the case.

Oregon State Police troopers say they found $200,470 in cash during a July 29 traffic stop on westbound Highway 140 near Bly, according to an affidavit filed by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations field officer in U.S. District Court in Medford late last month.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office claims the money was going to be used to buy marijuana in the Medford area to be sold on the black market in the driver’s home state of New Jersey.

The Newark, New Jersey, driver petitioned federal prosecutors for his money back, stating that the money was “profits of legal business transactions,” according to the affidavit.

Federal prosecutors say the New Jersey driver flew to Boise, Idaho, and rented a minivan for a 2,700-mile trip starting in Idaho and slated to end the following week in New Jersey.

Inside the vehicle was a cardboard box that contained 14 vacuum-sealed bags of cash.

Financial records and a UPS tracking number showed that the driver paid $406 to send the box from Kearny, New Jersey. The driver picked up the box two days later at a UPS Store in Boise, police say.

Police also seized two iPhones from the vehicle and one iPhone in the motorist’s pocket.

Police said the phone contained photos of marijuana, as well as photos of ledgers listing different marijuana strains, vaping cartridges and edibles.