Man accused of laundering cartel drug money after deputies find nearly $25K in car

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A Texas man faces a money laundering charge after county deputies found him in possession of $25,000 allegedly from illegal narcotics sales, an affidavit says.

Andres Ruiz, 25, was driving a vehicle with a passenger when a deputy stopped him for speeding in a construction zone about 3 p.m. on Interstate 35, the affidavit says.

Speaking with deputies in Spanish, Ruiz told them he went from his home in Laredo to Fort Worth to see his aunt he “had not seen in a long time.” He said he left Laredo at 4 a.m. and was driving back home, the affidavit says.

Deputies did the math on the travel time and concluded he could have spent only an hour in Fort Worth before leaving for Laredo, the affidavit states. Deputies then asked to search Ruiz’s car to which he gave consent.

Deputies found three bundles of U.S. cash in a toiletry bag, and two more in a red backpack they initially estimated at $25,000 combined, the affidavit says. It was bound with rubber bands, consistent with the style used to pack money from illicit drug sales, the affidavit said.

Deputies asked Ruiz about the cash, and he said he travels to Dallas to get cash and take it back to Mexico, where he takes it to whom he believes are cartel members, the affidavit says. Ruiz told authorities his mother and son live in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and he received threats about their safety, the affidavit says. Ruiz knew the money has was moving was illicit funds from narcotic sales, the affidavit says.

A K9 unit performed a search and alerted deputies to a scent of narcotics in the bags, the affidavit says.

The total amount of money in the vehicle was $24,980, the affidavit says.

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