- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - An eastern Nebraska county sheriff said deputies have seized nearly $560,000 in suspected drug money in recent traffic stops.

The money was confiscated in three separate stops in Lancaster County, the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1zMZEB8 ) reported.

Sheriff Terry Wagner said the biggest bust came on Saturday, when a deputy stopped 31-year-old Matthew S. Crothers of Palos Heights, Illinois, and 50-year-old Jeffrey A. Larkin of Orland Park, Illinois. Authorities say a search of their pickup yielded nearly $439,000 in a spare tire and a small amount of marijuana.

Deputies also say they seized nearly $54,000 in a Sunday stop and arrested 33-year-old Wing Lun Lau of Minneapolis.

On Friday, they confiscated $67,000. The sheriff says deputies arrested 21-year-old James Milton Atkinson of Mankato, Minnesota, and 22-year-old Erik Joseph Felsheim of Waseca, Minnesota.

So far this year, deputies have seized more than $3 million in suspected drug money, according to records from the Lancaster County sheriff’s office. Last year, about $1 million was collected.

Wagner said the office usually receives about 80 percent of the seized money once the cases work their way through the criminal justice system. The remaining funds are sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office.

But the county sheriff’s office hasn’t received any money from the 33 drug-related seizures deputies have made this year so far, Wagner said.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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