Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell announced on Thursday that deputies assigned to the ICSO Interstate Criminal Enforcement (ICE) Team had seized more than $400,000 linked to criminal activity during a traffic stop.

On Mau 22, ICE deputies stopped a vehicle occupied by three Chinese nationals and discovered each to be in possession of a significant amount of cash.

When the individuals were questioned by the deputies about the money, each occupant denied knowing how the $420,000 got in the vehicle, Campbell said. No one claimed ownership of the money, he added.

As the investigation continued, ICSO Narcotics investigators questioned the men. Special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were called in to assist with the investigation, which is ongoing.

Investigators have determined that the seized money represented the proceeds of illegal narcotics crimes and other criminal activity within the United States, Campbell said.

“This investigation is a reminder of the ongoing, proactive efforts being made by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office to combat drug and currency smuggling through Iredell County, and it is a glaring reminder of how the proceeds of illegal activity travel our interstates almost daily,” the sheriff said.

The ICSO ICE Team is the second oldest criminal interdiction team in North Carolina. ICE Team deputies receive extensive training on drug and currency smuggling techniques and how to locate hidden compartments in vehicles, Campbell said.

The deputies have traveled extensively across the state and the Southeast, teaching these techniques to personnel from other law enforcement agencies. The unit also collaborates with other state and federal law enforcement agencies once arrests have been made in Iredell County.

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