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, valleycentral.com 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.