Lincoln police were holding two men and three women Friday on immigration issues after finding $74,180 in a car headed to California.
Sgt. Don Scheinost said Wiestar Towing called police just after 2 p.m. Thursday after being asked to tow a silver, 1992 Lincoln Town Car from Highway 2 and 156th Street to a hotel instead of a car repair shop. The tow company thought it sounded suspicious, he said.
When the tow truck arrived at the hotel parking lot with the car and three women inside and the two men waiting, an officer was there to meet them to ask if he could look through the car.
Scheinost said he got permission and smelled fresh paint when he opened the trunk and saw handprints in fresh paint and new bolts on the car’s undercarriage. A police dog came and indicated the smell of drugs in the car.
Schienost said they towed the car with North Carolina plates to the police garage, where they discovered a false compartment under the trunk with several bundles of cash inside. He said it had $74,180 in all.
Police went back to the hotel and picked all five up on immigration issues. They were being held Friday at the Lancaster County Jail.
Scheinost said they were not arrested and no charges have been filed because it’s not illegal to transport a large amount of cash, but the dog’s indication to drugs in the car indicates the money may have been involved in something criminal.
He said police would wait to see if anyone wants to claim the money. It may end up being divided among agencies like the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Drug Enforcement Administration.