Two people were arrested in Merced County after K-9 Officer Laika sniffed out thousands of dollars in a car's hidden compartment, California Highway Patrol reported Tuesday.
Officers stopped a silver Chevrolet Impala with Washington plates for its tinted windows on March 2 at around 1 p.m. on southbound Interstate 5 at the John Erreca rest stop, CHP said in a statement. A woman was driving and a man was in the passenger seat.
Officers noticed several indicators of criminal activity, police said, and Laika was called to sniff the exterior of the car. She alerted officers that she smelled narcotics and they were given permission to search the car, according to CHP.
During the search, officers found a hidden compartment built between the trunk and the rear seat, CHP said, that contained $167,840 that was heat sealed and wrapped in dryer sheets, a tactic used to fool K9s.
The compartment was held in place by two electronically controlled trunk latches, according to the statement.
The driver and the passenger denied they had any knowledge of the money, according to police, and it is believed the money was derived from sale of narcotics. Officers seized the money.
Both subjects were place under arrest and charges are pending.
Monica Velez: 209-385-2486, @monicavelez21