Crime Watch: Fayette Co. Drug Interdiction Team

He and four-legged partner are known for hitting the mother load of marijuana, cocaine and cash as the cartel makes runs through Central Texas.

In this week’s Crime Watch we do something we've never done before. FOX 7's Noelle Newton takes you along with Fayette County Deputy Randy Thumann and K-9 Lobos to see just how they make the record busts.

Fayette County Deputy Randy Thumann taps on the gas tank of a truck. His K-9 Lobos sits nearby. He alerted to the smell of drugs in the vehicle. Thumann's gut instinct tells him something is up.

"One chance is all you're going to get. What you got in the car? The car hasn't been altered at all? Does it have a false floor in the back? It does. I can tell just by looking,” he said.

Thumann finds a small amount marijuana. He gives the driver a warning for window tint and obscured license plate.

It wasn't the bust he was hoping for, but he knows the next one is near.

"I know that eventually if I keep pecking away at it eventually I'm going to get what I'm looking for,” Thumann said.

Thumann spends his entire shift watching cars pass by. On this day he watched over interstate 10. The cartels know he's there and he knows they are doing whatever they can not to tip him off.

"They're very clever,” he said.

His most recent find was inside what appears to be your average family minivan. $428 thousand dollars in cash was stuffed inside every seat, including underneath the car seat.

The driver, Jose Cortez, and passenger, Maria Martinez, were arrested for felony money laundering. Photos of the bundles of cash will soon hang above Thumann's desk. He likes to keep track of all of his finds.

Thumann discovered 20 loads of cash and drugs in 2015. He gets more each year, but the majority of his time is spent waiting.

"It takes a lot of patience for me to just sit here and sift through the cars and not find anything. Waking up every morning, you know, I look forward to getting something off the streets, a load of illegal narcotics or illegal money,” he said.

He is still able to do a lot of good in between the rock star moments.

While we were with him, he spotted a Range Rover driving erratically. The driver was underage and under the influence. He was arrested. The passenger was also taken to jail for public intoxication.

The next day Thumann spots a car out of Mission, a known source city. Thumann runs through a list of questions.

Thumann feels the driver's story doesn't make sense. After getting consent to search, Thumann guides Lobos around the car. The dog gives an alert on the back.

Thumann sees that recent work has been done on the gas tank. He says that’s a favorite hiding spot for the cartel. He removes the gas tank to get a better look. His search comes up empty. The driver is released.

Thumann will keep an eye out for the car, should it once again pass him by.

"Every day I come to work with the same goal to find something out here on the road. I know it may be two months, three months, but eventually as long as I keep trying it's going to come,” he said.
 

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