Deputies find nearly $25K in car, make arrest for alleged narcotics money laundering

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A Texas man faces a money laundering charge after county deputies found nearly $25,000 in his vehicle, alleged to be from illegal narcotics sales, during a traffic stop, an affidavit says.

Andres Ruiz, 25, was driving a vehicle with a passenger when a deputy stopped him for speeding in a construction zone on Interstate 35 at 2:55 p.m., the affidavit says.

When deputies spoke with Ruiz, in Spanish, he told them he went from his home in Laredo to Fort Worth and was driving back home, the affidavit says. He said he left Laredo at 4 a.m. to see his aunt he “had not seen in a long time.”

Deputies did the math on the travel time and concluded he could have only spent an hour in Fort Worth before leaving for Laredo, the affidavit said. Deputies then asked to search Ruiz’s car, and he gave consent.

Deputies found three bundles of U.S. cash in a toiletry bag, and two more in a red backpack they initially estimated at $25,000 combined, the affidavit says. It was bound with rubber bands, consistent with the style used to pack money from illicit drug sales, the affidavit said.

Deputies asked Ruiz about the cash, and he said he travels to “Dallas” to get cash and take it back to Mexico where he takes it to who he believes are cartel members, the affidavit says. Ruiz told authorities his mother and son live in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and he received threats about their safety, the affidavit says.

Ruiz knew the money has was moving was illicit funds from narcotic sales, the affidavit says.

A K9 unit performed a search and alerted deputies to a narcotic scent on the bags, the affidavit says.

The total amount of money in the vehicle was $24,980, the affidavit says.

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