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Cheap Car Holds $200,000 in Phony Cash

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - All Tye Kuykendall wanted was a car he could buy cheap, fix up, and sell. He didn't expect accessories like a secret compartment fully loaded with cash.

"I liked to have a fit cause I thought that was real money," says Kuykendall.

Kuykendall, 76, spent $400 on a Buick LeSabre that he purchased at an auction. The car had been sitting in an impound lot for three years after it was seized during a drug investigation.

It ran fine, but Kuykendall and his grandson were trying to figure how how the smell of gas kept getting into the car. Their search took them behind the back seat, which they pried open to find a hidden compartment. Inside that, they found a bag filled with stacks of $100 bills - more than $200,000 worth.

Kuykendall says he counted it, then immediately called police, fully suspecting that it was dirty money.

"I knowed they was going to have to know," said Kuykendall. "I was hoping if it was real money I would get to keep some of it."

It wasn't real. Now, Cherokee County investigators and the Secret Service are trying to find out if there's a link between the subject of that drug investigation three years ago that landed the car in impound and the counterfeit cash.

"Someone went into a lot of effort to put a hidden compartment in this vehicle," said Cherokee Sheriff's Lt. Jay Baker. "You don't do that for a small amount of money or drugs."

Kuykendall was planning to sell the car. Not anymore.

"It turned out to be a good car," he said.

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