In the early hours of January 10, 2017, Zhimin Peng of Chicago was traveling through Boone County, Missouri when he was pulled over by Deputy Patrick Richardson. Peng had been driving his rental car at 94 mph. Together with Peng in the car was Ting Wei Huang. They told Richardson that they were on a short break from college and were traveling from Chicago to San Francisco.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Halford soon joined Richardson. Halford obtained permission to search Huang’s possessions. When Halford opened a bag in the trunk, he saw it contained a large amount of cash. Another officer, Kevin Purdy of the Columbia Police Department arrived with his drug dog, Duncan; the dog alerted officers to the odor of narcotics in several bags in the trunk. The bags contained nearly $627,000 in cash.