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SALT LAKE CITY — A couple who claimed that more than $200,000 found hidden in their car by Utah Highway Patrol troopers was a graduation gift for their daughter are under investigation, according to a recently unsealed search warrant.
On July 13, a UHP trooper pulled over a rental car on I-80 for a traffic violation. The couple claimed they were traveling from California to Minnesota, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in 3rd District Court and unsealed over the weekend.
The trooper "became suspicious of criminal activity after receiving conflicting and inconsistent travel plans from the two occupants of the vehicle," the warrant states.
The trooper asked the couple "if there were any narcotics or large amount of currency in the vehicle," according to the warrant. The couple said no and allowed the trooper to search the vehicle.
That's when investigators found two "large bundles" of currency hidden in a cooler underneath several food items, two more bundles in the spare tire compartment, three bundles in the lining of the rear hatch, and an eighth bundle inside the woman's purse, the warrant states. Each bundle of money was "wrapped in several layers of tinfoil and paper towels, and was then wrapped in vacuum-sealed plastic bags," according to the warrant.
The total amount of money seized was $204,100.
The couple claimed they used to run a day care business in Minnesota but had been unemployed since moving California four years ago, according to the warrant. The man also "stated several times throughout our encounter that the cash discovered in the vehicle was a gift for his daughter, who just graduated from high school," the warrant states.
As of Sunday, no charges had been filed.