Affidavit: Woman caught with $66k during Smith County traffic stop tied to major drug rings

Affidavit: Woman caught with $66k during Smith County traffic stop tied to major drug rings

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A Fort Worth woman allegedly caught with drugs during a traffic stop in Smith County is now being charged with money laundering.

The Department of Public Safety is charging Karla Ruthellen Portillo, 47, with a new money laundering charge. She is being held on a $250,000 bond.

Portillo was first arrested on July 11 following a traffic stop on I-20. An arrest affidavit states she was driving a Budget rental van and was stopped for not using her headlights correctly. While she was getting stopped, she threw a bag of methamphetamine out the window, according to the affidavit.

She was arrested that day for driving without a license, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and tampering with evidence. She stayed in jail until she was released on Sept. 24.

The affidavit states that during the traffic stop, Portillo told the trooper there was a large amount of money in the van. She said it was in the amount of $15,000 and was obtained from the sale of a vehicle. However, Portillo was not able to produce any documentation from the sale, according to the affidavit.

The trooper seized the money and two cellphones and arrested Portillo.

It was later discovered the cash was in the amount of $66,850. The trooper then returned to the rental van and searched it again and found a small amount of meth in the front seat area. The load in the van appeared to be a “cover load” as the load was miscellaneous things which did not appear to be from a major relocation, according to the affidavit.

The investigation also revealed Portillo had been renting vans from the same company over the past two years at the rate of at least two rentals per month.

A search of the cellphones showed calls with phone numbers tied to major drug distribution cases in North Carolina, Dallas, California and New York.

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