$100K found in car during traffic stop, driver arrested

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- A woman was arrested after more than $100,000 in cash was found in the car she was allegedly driving.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said a deputy conducted a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon on a 2002 Hyundai Elantra on Interstate 10 near milemarker 197. The Elantra reportedly had expired registration.

The sheriff's office said the driver of the Elantra had a passport identifying her as 36-year-old Elda Sepulveda Figueroa, of Phoenix. Her 7-year-old son was also in the car.

Figueroa reportedly told the deputy she was traveling to Tucson to attend a funeral for her aunt.

The sheriff's office said Figueroa appeared nervous while talking to the deputy and was on federal probation for conspiracy to smuggle marijuana. When asked about the probation, she reportedly told the deputy her husband was smuggling marijuana but she was also charged.

Figueroa reportedly told the deputy there was nothing illegal in the car when asked and said he could search it if he wanted to.

The deputy found a gift bag in the backseat containing bundles of cash totaling $107,730, according to the sheriff's office.

The deputy arrested Figueroa, who claimed it was not her money but declined to answer further questions, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities seized the cash and vehicle, and Figueroa and her son were released to call for a ride.

The investigation is ongoing and criminal charges are possible, the sheriff's office said.

"Whether the cartels try to smuggle drugs, humans or cash through Pinal County, we will continue to bring a heavy hand of enforcement," Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a statement. "After the money is released by the courts to our office, we will use it to fund equipment for our deputies and continue to provide funding for various youth programs throughout pinal county."