OUACHITA PARISH, La. – (6/12/19) Louisiana State Police arrested two Florida men with $59,000 in a tire during a traffic stop.
On Wednesday troopers were running radar on I-20 westbound on milepost 133 and observed a white 2019 Nissan Altima speeding at 75 mph in a 60 mph zone. A traffic stop was initiated and contact was made with both two men in the vehicle. The driver was identified as 26-year-old Artime Argen Marin and the passenger was identified as 22-year-old Steven Persaud. Both men recited inconsistent stories to authorities.
During a search of the vehicle, troopers noted that the spare tire looked heavier than normal and noticeably broken down from the rim due to slightly bent metal. A “ping” test was performed on the tire and gave a positive response that something was in it. The tire was broken down and was found it contained three bundles of rubber banded US currency wrapped in plastic and a shirt. The search also revealed a total of eight working cell phones.
Both suspects were arrested, handcuffed, searched and transported to the LSP Narcotics Office. The money from the tire was counted and was found to be approximately $59,000. Suspect 1 was found to have $4,964 while Persaud was found with $518.
Marin and Persaud disclaimed the money in the tire stating they knew nothing about it. They also refused to give any additional statements to investigators.
Further investigation by state police revealed that Marin was the primary suspect in a heroin and marijuana trafficking arrest in January 2019 by the Florida DEA while Persaud was found to be the primary suspect in two separate DEA money/marijuana seizures where $11,110 was seized in January 2019 and $10,000 seized in February 2019 by the DEA at the Dallas Airport.
Persaud was also found to be on probation in Florida. Troopers contacted the Florida agent who said Persaud was not supposed to be out of Florida.
Persaud and Marin were transported to OCC.
Both men were charged with Attempt and Conspiracy and Transactions involving Proceeds from Drug Offenses.