I-80 crash scene nets $41,700 cash
$41,700 Crash Cash
During the crash investigation a shrink wrapped stack of US currency, as well as loose currency, was discovered in the roadway. Wyoming Highway Patrol courtesy photo.
Hidden in insulation of demolished camper house trailer; vehicle occupants have no idea who it belongs to
by Wyoming Highway Patrol
December 13, 2007
(Rock Springs) – Due to the varying winter weather conditions over the past several days Troopers have been investigating many crashes on Wyoming roadways. One such crash had a different twist for Troopers on Monday however.
Troopers were dispatched to a non-injury crash with total road blockage on westbound Interstate 80 in Sweetwater County approximately 7 miles east of Patrick Draw just after 3:00 a.m. The crash involved two vehicles, a tractor trailer combination and a Suburban pulling a camper house trailer.
During the collision the house trailer being pulled by the Suburban sustained heavy damage and debris from what remained of the demolished house trailer and the vehicles was scattered all over both westbound lanes of the Interstate.
During the crash investigation a shrink wrapped stack of US currency, as well as loose currency, was discovered in the roadway. The currency apparently had been secreted in the insulated walls of the house trailer and had been scattered upon impact during the collision with tractor trailer combination.
The driver and a passenger in the Suburban attempted to pickup some of the loose currency and place it in a gym bag. When questioned by the Trooper both the driver, 27 year-old Ruben N. Ambriz of Santa Rosa, California and his passenger, 23 year-old Jorge P. Peralta from Mexico, stated that the currency was not theirs and denied any knowledge of who the owner might be or where it might have came from. Ambriz stated he had just purchased the trailer from an unknown person.
Troopers retrieved the gym bag and the loose cash inside was confiscated. Special Agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation’s (DCI) Southwest Enforcement Team were called to assist in the investigation as it is believed that the cash may be proceeds from criminal activity. A final count of the currency was completed and a total of $41,700.00 was seized.
Ambriz stated he was headed from the State of Michigan traveling to Santa Rosa, California. It was discovered that Peralta was in the United States illegally. Neither individual was arrested for possession of the cash at this time; however, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was contacted and advised about Peralta.
This case currently remains under investigation. The Wyoming Highway Patrol and DCI will begin asset forfeiture proceedings on the currency. Those proceedings may take up to one year until completion.
Photo courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol