ELOY — A Texas man is facing money laundering and drug charges after being pulled over by Arizona troopers with more than $200,000 in the trunk.

According to Pinal County Superior Court records, Colin D. Ross, 31, is facing charges of money laundering, possession of narcotic drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

At 3:38 p.m. on Sept. 11, a trooper was watching westbound traffic near milepost 214 on Interstate 10 when he noticed a white car with Florida license plates pass his patrol vehicle and then abruptly cross two lanes of traffic, causing two other vehicles on the road to slam on their brakes to avoid a collision.

The trooper started to follow the white car and found that it was a rental vehicle out of Texas. As the trooper was following the white car, the driver of the car reportedly attempted to merge from the middle lane back into the slow lane, narrowly missed hitting an SUV and quickly merged back into the middle lane.

When the trooper turned on his overhead lights and siren to pull the white car over, the driver “quickly slammed on the brakes” and pulled off the road onto the right shoulder.

The driver of the vehicle identified himself as Colin Ross with his U.S. passport. He allegedly told the trooper that he didn’t have a valid driver’s license due to a number of unpaid Texas parking tickets.

The trooper also noticed a cartridge and vape pen on the front passenger seat. Ross allegedly admitted to the trooper that the cartridge and vape pen held marijuana THC and that he didn’t have a medical marijuana card.

He allegedly told the trooper that he had lost his job due to COVID-19 and that a friend had rented the car for him so that he could drive to California to look for work.

While the trooper was writing up the warning for the unsafe lane changes, he noticed that Ross was acting very nervous. He asked Ross if everything in the vehicle belonged to him. Ross allegedly told him, “yes.”

The trooper then notified Ross that he was going to do a search of the vehicle. As the trooper was walking to the back of the car to search the trunk, Ross “became very nervous, pacing around with his hands on his head.”

The trooper placed Ross under arrest and had the car taken to the Arizona Department of Public Safety office in Casa Grande after he found a large cardboard box that contained two packages wrapped in black plastic in the trunk. When troopers opened the black packages at the Casa Grande office, they found approximately $201,000 in U.S. currency.

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Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.

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