EAST LIVERPOOL - A city police officer seized $15,000 in suspected drug money during a traffic stop Wednesday on Bradshaw Avenue.
Patrolman Fred Flati reported seeing the vehicle pull from a parking space in front of the Oasis Bar on St. Clair Avenue without using a turn signal and then turning onto Walnut Street, again without signaling.
The driver continued onto Bradshaw Avenue, this time using a turn signal, according to Flati, who stopped the vehicle at that point.
Special to the Journal/East Liverpool Police Department
East Liverpool police officers seized this $15,000 in suspected drug money — found inside the radio device — during a routine traffic stop Wednesday on Bradshaw Avenue. The driver said he had been saving it for a while.
The driver, who has not been identified, had to be told to roll down his window to speak to Flati, who said the driver hesitated while holding his hands in the air.
As the officer looked into the vehicle, he observed a device sitting on the passenger seat that the driver said was a radio he "takes everywhere."
Flati reported knowing the driver is associated with drugs, so he called for a K-9 officer, with the canine alerting on not only the vehicle but the radio, which contained no batteries.
Shaking the device, Flati said there was something inside it that "didn't feel proper," and he then found a screwdriver inside the driver's side panel he thought had been used to assemble and disassemble the radio.
He turned over the radio and was able to see a stack of bundled cash through a small opening and disassembled it, finding $15,000 in cash inside.
The driver was asked why he was carrying that large sum of money with him and reportedly said he had been "saving it for awhile" and works for his uncle selling cars.
Flati advised the driver he was seizing the cash as suspected drug money and he would write him a receipt, but the driver said he didn't need one, he just wanted to leave. He then asked if his aunt could come and get the cash but was told again it was being seized.
The driver signed the receipt and left, thanking officers for their time, according to Flati.