It is the largest, single cash seizure in the history of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
The $2.4 million was found in a 2006 Freightliner Renegade heading west on Interstate 80 at mile marker 391.
Deputies stopped the vehicle for following too closely and suspected criminal activity. A K-9 unit confirmed their suspicion by indicating the odor of narcotics.
“This is the direct proceeds of the sale of narcotics and we believe this money was intended to purchase additional narcotics to be resold again throughout the United States,” Lancaster County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jeff Bliemeister tells reporters. “We believe by taking this money we are not only charging them with a criminal offense, which we are doing, but we are inhibiting future distribution of narcotics.”
Deputies say the driver and owner of the vehicle is 65 year old Michael Melchior and the passenger is 63 year old Peggy Brennan. Both of them are from California.
“We are seeing people being paid to distribute either cash or narcotics across the country,” Bliemeister says. “We’re also seeing people who have a vested interest whether this is their cash from their sales or as part of a complex enterprise.”
Bliemeister would not say how involved Melchior and Brennan are in the suspected drug transaction.
“We are working painstakingly to follow up on everything that we have from the traffic stop, itself, and from where we know these individuals have been and were going,” Bliemeister says.
He says the investigation is ongoing with other state, local, and federal agencies.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this story.