A California man was charged with possession of cocaine and money laundering after a Sevier County deputy said he found $280,000 in cash and four kilos of cocaine in a car the man was driving.
Francisco Arreola, 28, of Ontario, Calif., was arrested in mid-February after the sheriff's deputy noticed the car weaving on I-70 about 10 miles north of Richfield.Deputy Phil Barney said the money was in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. It was found in a hidden compartment by the rear door of the vehicle, separate from the compartment containing the cocaine. Barney said a gun was also found.
The vehicle was registered to Arreola, who told Barney he was returning from Chicago. He denied knowing of the drugs or money, claiming he had loaned his car to another person and was then given $1,000 to drive it back to California.
Sevier County Attorney Don Brown said a preliminary hearing is set for March 19. Arreola has been released on $20,000 bail.
Barney said drug trafficking along I-70, a major east-west conduit known as "Cocaine Lane," appears to be increasing, perhaps because of tighter security at airports.
He said there have been five arrests for major drug trafficking on the freeway in Sevier County during the past four months.