EDWARDSVILLE – The Madison County Attorney’s Office has filed requests for more than a quarter of a million dollars and multiple vehicles to be seized in connection with alleged money laundering.
The records also contain additional information about the incidents that led to the seizures. Documents for the seizure of the vehicles and cash were filed on April 29, and orders were also signed that day, which found a likely reason.
Both cases began with traffic stops by Illinois State Police officers taken over by the Metropolitan Enforcement Group in southwest Illinois.
The property includes $ 94,360 and a 2017 Freightliner Cascadia.
On April 16, 36-year-old Yilkal B. Assefa, of San Diego, Calif., Was driving south on Interstate 55 on the halfway mile marker 8 when he was stopped by a police officer for a motor vehicle inspection.
The soldier noticed problems with the semi and pulled it over. Other problems became apparent and the soldier asked for permission to search the vehicle. Permission was given, according to an affidavit, and bundles of money, suspicious drugs and other items were found.
A locked box was also found. Assefa refused to give permission to search the crate, so a drug-sniffing dog was used and, according to an affidavit, indicated the presence of narcotics.
Upon opening, officials found the box contained $ 79,960 in cash in vacuum-sealed plastic bags.
Assefa was charged on April 19 with two money laundering cases, both class 2 crimes. Bail was set at $ 75,000.
In the second case, an Illinois state soldier ran over a 2011 GMC pickup truck in the south lanes of Interstate 55 for a traffic violation near Milepost 19 on April 19.
The driver was identified as John A. Sosa, 24, and the passenger as Renee J. Ferrari, 21, from Bakersfield, California. There was also a nine-month-old baby in the vehicle.
The two were reportedly visiting a family in Fisher, Indiana and returned home about nine days later. However, data from various license plate readers indicated the vehicle was in Texas and Arizona on April 9th and 15th.
Because of their stories and technical problems with the vehicle, a drug-sniffing dog was called in and made aware of possible narcotics. The police discovered a secret compartment under the back of the truck. Police found $ 178,600 in vacuum-sealed bags and another $ 862 in Ferrari’s wallet.
Neither would provide any information about the child placed in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
On April 20, both Ferrari and Sosa were charged with two Class 1 money laundering counts.
The bail was set at $ 100,000 each.