Madison County Traffic Arrest: This Is What $1.5 Million In Cash Looks Like (PHOTO)

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Carole Galvez
  • Carole Galvez

It's been a long time since Illinois State Police seized this much illegal cash from one red-handed suspect.

Officials announced yesterday that the discovery came when a trooper patrolling I-55 near Collinsville stopped a 2004 white Volvo convertible for improper lane usage and an improper license plate cover. Only problem for driver Carole Galvez, 62, was that wasn't the only thing improper about her car. Upon further investigation, officials found plastic bags containing a whopping $1,589,860 which, you know, is a wee bit fishy.

What was Galvez up to?

First, here's a photo of $1,589,860, courtesy of Illinois State Police.

Cash_Illinois_State_Police.jpg

Galvez, of Gila Bend, Arizona, was pulled over on January 26 in what started as a routine traffic stop, according to State's Attorney Tom Gibbons. The trooper's investigation uncovered the cash stored in vacuum sealed plastic bags and "obtained via criminal activity," officials say.

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Prosecutors are looking to have the money found in the vehicle forfeited; and the "law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of the case will be entitled to a percentage of the money."

Meanwhile, Galvez is being held at Madison County Jail in Edwardsville on a bond of $500,000. If convicted of the Class One felony of money laundering, she will face between four to fifteen years behind bars.

What was the illegal activity?

Illinois State Police say it was very likely drug-related with a press release applauding the trooper's discovery and mentioning the harms of drugs (and pointing out that this is the largest cash seizure of the agency in years). It says, in part:

The Trooper located 27 vacuum-sealed plastic bags containing $1,589,860 in U.S. currency.

"Cash amounts this large are usually connected to illegal drug trafficking," said District 11 Commander, Captain Brad Parsons. "Drugs destroy lives and rip families apart, but when our officers apply training and solid police work, they are able to hinder the ability of these criminal enterprises from harming more people," he added.

Continue for the full documents in this case.

The announcement from the Madison County State's Attorney's Office.

Press Release

And the full State Police press release:

D-11 Traffic Stop Leads to the Discovery of over $1.5 Million Dollars in U.S Currency

MADISON COUNTY, IL - Illinois State Police (ISP) today commended the good work of District 11 troopers and pointed to ISP's largest cash seizure in years.

On January 26, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a District 11 Trooper patrolling I-55, southbound near Collinsville, stopped a 2004 white Volvo convertible for improper lane usage with an illegal license plate cover. Conversation with the driver led the Trooper to believe there was criminal activity. The Trooper asked for, and was granted consent to look further inside the vehicle. Upon further investigation, the Trooper located 27 vacuum-sealed plastic bags containing $1,589,860 in U.S. currency.

"Cash amounts this large are usually connected to illegal drug trafficking," said District 11 Commander, Captain Brad Parsons. "Drugs destroy lives and rip families apart, but when our officers apply training and solid police work, they are able to hinder the ability of these criminal enterprises from harming more people," he added.

Arrested for money laundering was Carole Irene Galvez, 62, from Gila Bend, Arizona. Galvez is currently being held at the Madison County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

The Illinois State Police and the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southern Illinois (MEGSI) collaborated on this investigation. They worked closely with the Madison County State's Attorney's office to secure charges.

And a larger version of Galvez's mugshot.

CAROLE_GALVEZ.jpg

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