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$500,000 Left in Taxi in Puerto Rico

May 14, 2003

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Authorities seized $500,000 in cash left in a taxi’s trunk in Puerto Rico’s capital and later detained a Colombian man.

Police on Tuesday said they pulled over taxi driver Arcadio Rodriguez Vazquez for running a stop sign in the Ocean Park section of the capital, San Juan.

When Rodriguez opened the taxi’s trunk to look for his driver’s license, police saw wads of cash coming out of a suitcase, San Juan Police Commissioner Adalberto Mercado said.

The cash, in denominations of 5, 10 and 20, was stuffed into two black suitcases, Mercado said.

Police questioned Rodriguez, who told officers the suitcases belonged to his previous fare, a 45-year-old Colombian man who lived in Miami. The man was staying at a condominium in San Juan.

Local authorities turned the man over to U.S. Customs agents. Police said they believe the money was related to drug trafficking.

Customs officials in the U.S. Caribbean territory were not available for comment late Tuesday.

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