While the world is shifting towards digital ecosystem, cash transactions remain to be dominant across most parts of the world. Cash is especially preferred by criminals and other lawbreakers, as it helps evade tax and keep their illegal activities under wraps. Such unaccounted cash can be linked to various illegal activities such as drug operations, illegal gambling, sale of pirated goods, bribery, tax evasion, etc.
While such people use ingenious techniques to stash voluminous amount of cash, there comes a time when law finally catches up. In the past, huge piles of cash have been discovered by cops and enforcement agencies. To get a better idea, here’s a look at some of the biggest cash seizures in history.
Alabama cash bust
In 2013, more than $1.5 million in US currency was seized from a truck that was travelling on Interstate-65 in Baldwin, Alabama. This was the biggest cash seizure in the history of the state. The cash was found during a routine search of the truck. The driver feigned ignorance about where and how the money came in his truck.
Vancouver Island cash bust
Around $2.6 million in US currency was recovered by Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2012. It was kept in a suitcase and had to be fished out from the harbor located near Vancouver Island. A man was arrested, who had apparently kept the suitcase in his boat. He had thrown the suitcase in the water when police officials were approaching his boat.
Sydney money laundering (Operation Eligo)
In one of the biggest cash seizures in Australian history, £3.1 million ($5.7 million) was seized from an American citizen. The cash stash was kept in seven large suitcases. The arrested man had of course denied that he had anything to do with the cash. It is believed that the cash belonged to a global syndicate that comprises criminals from more than 20 countries. Their operations involve human trafficking, drug cartels and terrorist organizations.
Colombian cash seizure
Based on information provided by DEA, the Colombian National Police raided various locations in Cali area. The raids netted $13 million and $18 million in US dollars along with 2 million Euros. Large quantity of gold was found in another raid conducted at a different house. In total, the value of seized stash was more than $50 million. It is suspected that the stash belonged to Norte Valle Cartel, which is involved in cocaine trade in Columbia.
Zhenli Ye Gon’s home raid
A Chinese businessman, Zhenli Ye Gon had moved to Mexico for his import/export business. The business was legit and involved import of ephedrine products such as pseudoephedrine. These are used for manufacturing medications such as Sudafed. However, ephedrine products can also be used for producing banned drugs such as methamphetamine.
It was found that Zhenli Ye Gon was diverting some of the imported chemicals for illegal drugs manufacturing. Items like crystal meth were then sent and distributed in US. When Zhenli Ye Gon’s home in Mexico City was raided, DEA agents found mountains of cash, neatly stacked in bundles. A total of $226 million was discovered in US dollars, Pesos, Hong Kong dollars and Euros. Gold coins, jewelry items, guns and luxury cars were also found, taking the total value of stash to a whopping $350 million.