Trucks used in smuggling operations

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Updated Jan 20, 2016

Trucks have been used in illicit businesses south of the border for decades, but two trucks grabbed headlines recently after their drivers were arrested on smuggling charges.

During a recent traffic stop in Arkansas, police discovered that a man had turned his drivetrain into a cash stash, the Texarkana Journal reported this morning.

After pulling over Esteban Oviedo-Apodaca for a traffic violation on Interstate 30 near Arkadelphia, Arkansas State Police noticed that the transfer case on Oviedo-Apodaca’s 2008 Chevy pickup had been altered.

While the truck was being inspected more closely at a shop, a false compartment was found with $144,795 in U.S. currency. The money had been tightly wound in cellophane and duct tape.

Oviedo-Apodaca later confessed to agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that he had planned on getting paid $4,000 to smuggle the cash from the U.S. to Mexico.

“The I-30 corridor is well-known by federal and local law enforcement as a contraband- and currency-smuggling corridor,” a federal complaint states.

Oviedo-Apodaca remains in custody.

In late December, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a man at a Texas border after he was caught transporting 10 undocumented immigrants inside a false compartment built in the back of a moving truck.

Fabian Alvarado’s nervous behavior at the Falfurrias checkpoint prompted an agent to use a dog to sniff the truck, reports. After the dog alerted, agents inspected the back of the Penske rental truck and discovered loose screws on a wall directly behind the cab.

An X-Ray revealed a hidden compartment. After removing a small portion of the wall, agents found the immigrants inside.