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June 6, 2014

LPD stops speeder, finds $53,000

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A driver speeding eight miles per hour over the speed limit in a jeep filled with chickens caught some unwanted attention Friday and led to the London Police Department confiscating $53,000 and a vehicle from two men traveling north to Chicago.

Sergeant Randy Midlock of the London Police Department was conducting speed checks on Interstate 75 North when he observed a 2006 Jeep Commander traveling eight mph over the speed limit near exit 41.  Midlock initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle near the 45 mile marker.

Midlock said that as he approached the vehicle he noticed that along with the driver and his passenger the vehicle contained 24 roosters.  Midlock said that the situation struck him as odd so he called for backup. 

Sgt. Greg Turner and his K9 partner Jager arrived on scene to assist Midlock on scene.

“We separated the two individuals and interviewed them individually,” Midlock said.  “Their stories just didn’t match up. They told us they had driven down from Chicago to pick up some chicken, but when we asked where they had been that day one said Corbin and the other said he didn’t know.”

At that point the officers requested to search the vehicle and were told no.

“That’s when our K9, Jager came out,” Midlock said.  “Officer Turner walked Jager and the vehicle and hit on the drivers door.”

Jager was put away and the officers began searching the vehicle based on the hit.  After searching and clearing the interior of the vehicle Midlock and Turner decided to search underneath the vehicle.

“That dog is spectacular,” Midlock said.  “If he hits on something it’s either there or it was there.”

After searching for a short time, the officers found a false panel under the vehicle that they could not get open.  The vehicle was removed from the scene by a wrecker and Midlock used the hit from the dog and the false panel beneath the vehicle to obtain a search warrant.

“This was no amateur made hidden compartment,” Interim Chief of Police Major Derek House said.  “We had officers try to figure out how to activate this compartment, but they couldn’t figure it out.  It was by far one of the most elaborate hidden compartments we’ve ever seen.”

According to House many of the more elaborate compartments require the radio to be turned to a specific channel or the defrost to be set to a specific setting to open.  Officers had to go though the interior floor panel to get to the false panel.

“This vehicle, it’s purpose is for transporting illegal drugs or proceeds from illegal drugs,” House said.  “It goes to show you what’s traveling up and down our roads every day and why it’s so important that we have our officers in the city, Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police.”

House said that the money and the vehicle were both seized and turned in to the FBI for assets forfeiture.  The suspects had claimed to have no knowledge of the money being there and had borrowed the vehicle so they were cited for speeding and released.  Officers attempted to contact the owner of the vehicle but were unable to reach them.

“I-75 is a pipeline, people use it to move stuff like this every day,” said House.  “If we had a team of officers that just did drug interdictions we’d be getting drugs and money like this every day.”

The investigation is said to be ongoing and arrests are expected to be made pending further investigation.

rmcdaniel@sentinel-echo.com

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