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Brownsville CBP Officers Seize $284K in Cocaine and $100K in Unreported U.S. Currency

Release Date: 
December 10, 2020

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Veterans International Bridge Port of Entry seized $100,350 in bulk, unreported U.S. currency and $284,920 in cocaine at the Gateway International Bridge.   

“Our officers maintain a robust enforcement posture while conducting inspections of inbound and outbound traffic as they carry out the mission of securing our borders,” said Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry. “Their dedication and attention to detail were instrumental in making these seizures.”

Stacks containing $100,350 in undeclared currency seized by CBP officers at Brownsville Port of Entry
Stacks containing $100,350 in undeclared currency
seized by CBP officers at Brownsville Port of Entry.

The currency seizure took place on Wednesday, Dec. 2, when CBP officers working at the Veterans International Bridge encountered a 19-year-old male United States citizen driving a 2015 Buick Encore, who was selected for a routine outbound inspection.  With the aid of a non-intrusive imaging system (NII) and a canine unit, CBP officers discovered two packages containing bulk U.S. currency totaling $100,350 hidden within the vehicle.

On Monday, Dec. 7, CBP officers working at the Gateway International Bridge encounterd a 23-year-old female United States citizen from Brownsville, Texas, who applied for entry into the United States driving a 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis.  The vehicle was referred to CBP secondary for further examination after a primary inspection.  In secondary, with the aid of a non-intrusive imaging system (NII) and a canine unit, CBP officers discovered 15 packages hidden within the Grand Marquis.  CBP officers removed the packages, which contained a total of 36.94 pounds of alleged cocaine.

The estimated street value of the narcotics seized is approximately $284,920.

CBP officers seized the narcotics and the bulk currency along with the vehicles, arrested the drivers and turned them over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

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Last modified: 
February 3, 2021