EDWARDSVILLE - Authorities have filed suit in circuit court in pursuit of money and a vehicle after a suspect told a complex story of how he got nearly $53,000.

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Suspect Jieshi Li, 45, of Pennsylvania, was charged after state police stopped a Nissan Pathfinder on Interstate 70 near Marine because the windshield was allegedly obstructed by an oversized air freshener and a white plastic toll pass.

An affidavit claimed the Nissan was full of trash and appeared to be lived in. The stop was made on Aug. 26. Li was charged Aug. 27. The suit was made public Thursday.

Li told an officer that he drove from Oklahoma to San Francisco to tend to a sick uncle who just flew from Pennsylvania to San Francisco. He said his sick uncle was traveling back to China before getting sick.

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The suspect said he drove from Oklahoma to San Francisco where he picked up his uncle from the hospital. Li said he drove back to Pennsylvania where he dropped off his sick uncle.

He said he was heading back to Oklahoma to pick up another uncle. Li agreed to allow the officers to search the vehicle in which they found the cash. The cash was in bundles, tagged with torn pieces of paper.

Li told an investigator that the Oklahoma uncle withdrew $60,000 from a bank and gave it to Li to pay medical bills in San Francisco. Li showed an officer a bank receipt that did not have a name or date.

A sworn statement claimed that a search of Li’s cell phone revealed several marijuana growing operations, which Li attributed to his Oklahoma uncle. Authorities claim the money and vehicle are “criminally derived property.” Bail is set at $75,000.

The suit claiming the property alleges the property was used to violate the Money Laundering Act. Authorities claim Li did not have a source of income for that amount of money, and he had no visible means of support. “The statements by claimant were inconsistent and lacking veracity,” the court document alleged.

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