Illinois State Police on Friday said they found $790,000 worth of cocaine during a traffic stop on Interstate 70 near Pierron.
Troopers also announced the seizure of $34,000 in cash discovered during a separate traffic stop in Madison County.
Capt. Brad Parsons said a trooper stopped a white sport-utility vehicle about 8:40 a.m. Wednesday on eastbound Interstate 70 for speeding and following another vehicle too closely. Parsons said an investigation led the trooper "to believe there was criminal activity."
A drug-sniffing dog was called, and it alerted to the presence of drugs. A search of the vehicle revealed seven cellophane-wrapped bundles containing about 7.9 kilograms of cocaine.
"We're out there every day looking beyond the traffic stop," Parsons said. "If we didn't take the time look beyond the stop we wouldn't be able to remove guns, drugs and criminals off of Illinois roadways. We don't want someone's driving behavior or a criminal act to keep you from arriving at your destination safely."
The driver, Darrallyn Smoot, 24, and the passenger, Kenyon R. Walton, 28, both of Cincinnati, were arrested on charges of drug trafficking. Both were being held Friday in the Madison County Jail, pending the filing of federal charges.
In the other case, a trooper stopped a 2011 Toyota about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday on Interstate 55 near Collinsville for following too closely behind another vehicle.
The driver gave consent to search the vehicle. The search revealed $34,171.
Both the driver and passenger were questioned, and neither claimed ownership of the cash.
The driver is an undocumented immigrant and is being held pending deportation by federal authorities, Parsons said. The passenger was released.
"I don't know of too many people who have over $34,000 just lying around," Parsons said. "If you do have that much cash and you have it for a legitimate reason, most people don't take the time to vacuum-seal it and then deny ownership of the money."