$110,000 in car; driver held on money laundering count

August 10, 2018

Consent to search the red Toyota traveling west on U.S. 30 turned up items associated with drug trafficking: 18 bundles of cash hidden in a duffel bag under some clothes, eight cellphones including two flip phones or “burner phones” and a small broken statue of Santa Muerte, the patron saint of drug traffickers.

Juvenal Cervantes-Cruz, 24, of Red Bluff, California, driving a car with license plates registered in Illinois, said he made the bundles of cash totaling $110,000 from working the fields in California, according to court documents.

Cervantes-Cruz was pulled over around 9 p.m. Wednesday near Flaugh Road after a detective pulled the car over for speeding. Cervantes-Cruz indicated that his passengers were cousins. One man had a driver’s license registered in Nevada and the other man produced an ID from Mexico.

Cervantes-Cruz first told the detective that he did not have any drugs, weapons or large sums of money in the Toyota. But after being given consent, the detective found the bundles of cash, another bag with a knife sticking out of it and a clear plastic bag with 0.2 gram of cocaine. There was also a paper that court documents said appeared consistent with a typical drug ledger.

Cervantes-Cruz was charged with money laundering and was being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.


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