More than $491,000 in suspected drug money found during Missouri traffic stop

Federal authorities on Friday filed legal action to seize more than $491,000 found during a traffic stop by the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alleges that the money was “furnished or intended to be furnished” in exchange for illegal drugs or was the proceeds from an illegal drug deal.

The traffic stop occurred in May on Interstate 35 in Daviess County, north of Kansas City.

A highway patrol sergeant had been told by DEA agents that the tractor-trailer registered in Oklahoma may have been involved in drug-trafficking, according to documents filed in federal court.

After seeing the truck drift onto the shoulder of the highway, the sergeant pulled it over. The driver had a Texas license and agreed to allow troopers to search the vehicle.

Plastic bags containing bundles of U.S. currency were found in a gas can strapped to the platform behind the truck’s cab. More money was found in plastic jugs in a storage compartment below the passenger-side door, according to the documents.

The driver told the troopers that he knew about the gas can, but not the other jugs.

He said he was paid $300 by a man in Mexico he knew as Manuel to transport the can from Kansas to Des Moines, Iowa.

The driver did not claim ownership of the money, so he was cited for the traffic violation and released, according to the documents.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc