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Thread: $500K Seized; Strange Situation Reported At Nuclear Plant

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    $500K Seized; Strange Situation Reported At Nuclear Plant

    $500K Seized; Strange Situation Reported At Nuclear Plant

    UPDATED: 5:13 pm EDT April 19, 2006

    SHIPPINGPORT, Pa. -- Two workers looking for tools set off a security situation at a Beaver County nuclear power plant that drew a response from police and federal investigators, WTAE Channel 4's Paul Van Osdol reported.

    State police said the men drove up to the Beaver Valley Power Station in a tractor-trailer on Tuesday night to pick up two large containers of tools for a contractor for whom they worked.

    Security guards stopped the men for a routine inspection, but they drove away, police said.

    The guards became suspicious and called police, who pulled the truck over about a mile from the plant.

    A state trooper got a warrant to search the vehicle and found a duffel bag, which he said contained $504,230 in mostly small bills.

    The driver denied knowing anything about the money or who gave it to him, so the trooper seized it, police said.

    A spokesman for the FBI confirmed that the Joint Terrorism Task Force responded to the situation in conjunction with state police, but he said they don't think terrorism is involved. He would not give any other details.

    The men, who are from Houston, said they picked up the bag in Chicago and had no knowledge of its contents, according to police.

    Investigators think the cash may have a drug connection. A police dog picked up the scent of drugs in the sleeper cab of the truck where the bag was found, police said.

    Both men were detained and later released. No charges have been filed.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    No one claims $500,000 stash in truck

    By Cindi Lash, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    When security guards at the Beaver Valley Power Station discovered a bag containing thousands of dollars in a tractor-trailer cab, one of the vehicle's occupants told them his boss planned to use the cash to buy a truck.

    It must have been some truck.

    State police said the bag, which guards spotted on Tuesday while conducting a routine search of the tractor-trailer at the entrance to the nuclear power plant, contained 10 plastic-wrapped bundles of cash totaling $504,230.

    Police later seized the money and bag after a dog trained to detect drugs sniffed and reacted to the bag, indicating contact with controlled substances.

    The truck driver and passenger, whose names were withheld but who are from Texas, were released without charges because no apparent crime had been committed.

    State police were investigating to determine who owns the money and how it got into the tractor-trailer. If no one comes forward to claim legitimate ownership of the money, police said, they will begin proceedings for forfeit of the cash to the government.

    "I wanted to know, why is somebody running around with that amount of money when they're not in a Brink's truck?" said Shippingport police Sgt. R.N. Davis Jr., who pulled the truck over after it left the power plant in Beaver County.

    Investigators also notified the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, but said they do not believe the money or truckers are linked to workers or activities at the plant.

    "Most likely, they were just between runs," said Trooper Jonathan Bayer. "The investigation is continuing, but there is no indication that there is any connection to the power plant."

    The truckers worked for a company hired by San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., which is performing construction work and replacing equipment at the plant, said Richard Wilkins, spokesman for plant owner First Energy Nuclear Operating Co.

    The name of the company was not released, but police said the truckers had come from Chicago and were making a scheduled stop to pick up and transport containers of tools to Youngstown, Ohio.

    The white semi-truck and empty flatbed trailer pulled up to the plant entrance about 4:15 p.m. Plant security officers told them every vehicle entering the plant must be searched and obtained permission to do so, police said.

    In the search, the officers found a green, blue and black duffel bag with a padlock in the sleeper berth of the cab, Trooper Bayer said. The truckers didn't have a key for the lock, so guards cut it off and spotted cash inside, he said.

    The truckers said the money wasn't theirs and they didn't know how it got there, Trooper Bayer said. In court papers filed to obtain a search warrant, state police said one of the truckers told security officers that "it was their [boss's] money and he was going to buy a truck with it."

    But when the security workers called the truckers' boss in Houston, he also said he knew nothing about the money. The security officers called police, but the truckers backed out of the plant and drove off.

    "There's nothing [in the law] that says you can't carry a lot of cash around with you. It's just a little unusual," Mr. Wilkins said. "Any kind of unusual or suspicious activity, or even a person who's acting a little suspiciously, whether they've broken a law or tried to do something that was against the regulations on site, would be reported."

    Police broadcast a description of the truck and Sgt. Davis pulled it over after spotting it on Route 168 south, near the Shippingport Bridge. He said the truckers were polite, but the passenger had no identification and said it had been stolen from the truck the night before.

    "Your ID is stolen but not that bag of cash? Red flags were popping up all over," Sgt. Davis said.

    State police also arrived and obtained a warrant to search the truck. They said the cash was packed in bundles of $50,000, each containing 10 packets of $5,000 in mostly $20 bills but also $100, $50 and $10 bills. The bundles were tightly compressed and wrapped in silver tape and plastic, but their contents could be seen.

    "I picked the bag up with one hand and then said 'Whoa.' It had to weigh a good 60 pounds," Sgt. Davis said. "I told the state police, 'This is all yours.' I said [there is] no way I'm counting this all night."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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