MERCED COUNTY, Calif. – Suspects being chased by police stopped in the middle of the pursuit to drop nearly $1 million in cash off on the side of a road before being apprehended, according to California Highway Patrol (CHP).
On Friday, CHP says one of its officers spotted three SUVs that appeared to be traveling together and tried to stop one for traffic violations.
However, police say the driver failed to yield to the patrol vehicle’s lights or sirens and the chase began. As the officer attempted to pursue the SUV, one of the other vehicles reportedly attempted to block the officer, straddling both lanes.
Police say the officer was able to outmaneuver the vehicle blocking him and continued to pursue the SUV that had fled.
At one point during the pursuit, police say the driver of the SUV stopped on the right shoulder, exited the vehicle and dropped two cardboard boxes off before returning to the vehicle and continuing to flee.
Shortly after dropping the boxes on the shoulder, police say the driver stopped his vehicle and surrendered. While taking the driver into custody, the officer noticed the third SUV stopped in traffic. Officers then stopped that vehicle and took both drivers into custody.
Officers later retrieved the cardboard boxes and located about $915,000 in cash, as well as walkie talkies in the suspect vehicles, which police believe the three drivers were using to communicate during the pursuit.
Police say one of their K-9s, Beny, alerted them to the odor of narcotics on the currency and it was later discovered the suspects were traveling to northern California to purchase marijuana.
The suspects were arrested, and felony charges are pending.
“K-9 Beny usually gets all the glory in these types of incidents but it is his handler that really deserves the credit this time,” wrote police on Facebook. “What an amazing team! Great job!”