RENSSELAER, Ind. – Anybody missing $3 million? That's what authorities in northern Indiana are asking as they try to determine where a stash of unwrapped U.S. currency found in a tractor-trailer cab came from.
Police say they found the money in the sleeper of a tractor-trailer cab that three Chicago men allegedly had just used to steal a flatbed trailer, The Journal & Courier of Lafayette reported (http://bit.ly/qgpGux). The money was discovered following a 14-mile chase that ended on Interstate 65 near Rensselaer. A week later, authorities are still trying to determine who the $3,029,000 belongs to.
"Nobody's claiming that right now," Jasper County Terry Risner said.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed by police, two truck drivers, Juan Gonzalez and David Zuniga, pulled over on Oct. 6 near Remington, about 90 miles northwest of Indianapolis, because they had a flat tire. Gonzalez told police he was securing the tarp on the flatbed trailer when three men came out of the cornfield and attacked them.
Gonzalez said he fled after he was struck on the head with a gun. Two men knocked Zuniga to the ground, kicked him and then handcuffed him, Gonzalez said. The men then hooked a purple Kenworth tractor up to the trailer Gonzalez and Zuniga had been pulling and took off.
Police pursued the truck north on I-65 and used stop sticks to end the chase. They found the money in the cab and household items in sealed crates.
Police arrested Clarence Magee Jr., 38; Tavair N. McCain, 34; and Alfonzo A. Spraggins, 34. The men are charged with two counts of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, criminal confinement, and battery by means of a deadly weapon. Magee also is charged with resisting arrest.
Not guilty pleas were entered on their behalf at initial hearings Tuesday. They were being held Friday at the Jasper County Jail, with bond set at $500,000 each. A message seeking comment from their attorney, Scott King, was left at his office Friday by The Associated Press.
Police said Gonzalez sustained a cut and bump on the back of his head; Zuniga suffered a large laceration on the back of his head that required 11 staples.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Gonzalez affirmed that the currency found in the cab was on the trailer he had been hauling. Risner said all police found on the trailer were household items in sealed crates.
Risner said he couldn't say much about the case because it is still under investigation. He said the only thing he knows for sure is the money was in the cab when people stopped it.
"I can't vouch for where the money was prior to that," he told the AP Friday.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is assisting in the investigation.
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