Drug agents seize $46K at MSP Airport

MINNEAPOLIS - A search warrant filed in Hennepin County details how federal and local drug agents confiscated $46,000 from a pair of suspected drug couriers, who walked away without being charged. 

The warrant details how the male suspect was first flagged at MSP on May 8 when he carried $35,000 in cash through a TSA checkpoint at the last minute before boarding a flight, behavior frequently used by drug couriers to avoid law enforcement intervention. The man's flight took off before agents could question him, and he also managed to avoid authorities in Sacramento after landing. 

Investigators followed up and found that the suspect's ticket had been booked by a Minneapolis man with an extensive criminal record. They believed that the suspect was a drug mule who would carry a large amount of cash to California with a one-way ticket, purchase narcotics and then transport them back to Minnesota, most likely by ground vehicle.

On September 8 federal and local drug agents were again notified that the suspect was scheduled to fly from Minneapolis to Sacramento, a locale known as a hub for drug traffickers. The tickets booked by the suspect and a female companion were for a flight the morning of September 10. They arrived at MSP airport and waited for the two suspects. After spotting them shortly before 6 a.m. the drug agents approached the man and woman at their departure gate and asked to speak with them. 

Agents found that both suspects had $23,000 in cash on them, a total of $46,000. Each told the agent questioning them that they were moving to California, and were carrying their life's savings in order to buy a home in Sacramento. When asked to provide a receipt or account information that would reflect the withdrawal, the man told them he had none. The suspect was trembling, and sweating profusely. When asked where the money came from, the man told them from his computer software business. When asked the name of that business, the suspect appeared confused and provided two different names. 

The woman twice told the agent questioning her that she had 23-hundred dollars, and when he said the stack of cash was far too big for that amount, she changed her story to claim it was $23,000. 

Multiple times while he was being questioned the male suspect would look over at his female companion and say "Let's just go. You don't have to talk to them. We didn't do anything wrong."

An agent who had his dog search two duffel bags checked by the woman (with her permission) discovered drug paraphernalia. When told that their luggage would be seized and that authorities would need an address to ship the bags back, the male suspect told his companion "This is a trick question, don't answer anything, let's just go." The two suspects then left, leaving their bags and money behind.  


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