WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Police Department recently received $16,000 after confiscating $80,000 during a drug investigation led by the Federal Law Enforcement Agency last year.
Worthington Police Sergeant Brett Wiltrout explained the Worthington Police Department received a call from the Federal Law Enforcement Agency about a year ago, advising officers to be on the lookout for a red Volkswagen station wagon in connection with a drug investigation.
On June 6, 2012, Wiltrout stopped a vehicle at Minnesota 60 and Interstate 90 being driven by an Arizona female that matched the description provided by the Federal Law Enforcement Agency.
"We are taught to observe everything about the vehicle and the driver and make a reasonable assumption if there may or may not be drugs in the vehicle," Wiltrout explained.
After examining the station wagon, Wiltrout conducted a vehicle search that did not reveal any drugs or drug-related material.
"So we brought the K-9, Thor, around the vehicle, and he positively indicated that there was an odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle," Wiltrout said.
With the assistance of the Minnesota State Patrol and the Nobles County Sheriff's Department, a more intense search was conducted, and $80,000 in cash wrapped in black electrical tape was found.
"We took the rear driver's side wheel off. The vehicle was a station wagon, so it had the back part that is the cargo area. Underneath the cargo area you could access from the wheel well, and there was a little void that had a door," Wiltrout said of the money's location.
The money was turned over to the Federal Law Enforcement Agency as it was initially its case. The money was recently divided between the state and local agencies.
The Worthington Police Department intends to use its share of funds to purchase a new four-wheel-drive vehicle -- "something we're in dire need of," Wiltrout said.
To Wiltrout's knowledge, this is the largest amount of money seized to date by the Worthington Police Department.
"This is what we train for," he said. "We go to classes to find this stuff, and we have the dogs to find this stuff, and when you do find it, it's exciting."
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.