Calif. CBP Officers Seize More Than $1M in Cash, Narcotics Over Weekend
Calexico, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico downtown port of entry seized close to $400,000 dollars in concealed U.S. currency and $761,000 worth of narcotics during outbound and inbound port operations.
The three unrelated incidents took place over the weekend where CBP officers prevented 79 pounds of narcotics entering the U.S. and intercepted $398,269 dollars in concealed currency leaving the U.S.
The first incident occurred at about 6 a.m. on Friday, April 8, when a 28-year-old male Mexican citizen driving a black 1991 Mazda Miata was escorted for further examination after a canine alerted to vehicle as the driver waited for inspection.
An intensive inspection of the vehicle led officers to the discovery of 21 wrapped packages of cocaine hidden inside a specially built compartment behind the back rest of the rear seats. The weight of the cocaine was 54 pounds with a street value of approxiimately $486,000.
The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for further processing.
The second incident occurred on the same day at about 9:15 p.m. when officers with the port's Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team conducting outbound operations targeted a 30-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a white 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck for an intensive inspection.
The intensive examination that included a detector dog and the x-ray imaging system led officers to the discovery of 16 wrapped bundles of undeclared currency hidden inside the truck's spare tire. A total of $395,780 in U.S. currency was retrieved from the spare tire with an additional $2,489 in U.S. currency that was on the driver's person.
CBP officers arrested the driver and turned him over to the custody of ICE agents for further investigation.
The third incident occurred at about 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, when a canine team was screening vehicles and the canine alerted to a black 2001 Honda Accord as it waited in line for inspection. Both the driver, a 25-year-old female U.S. citizen, and vehicle were escorted for further examination.
An intensive inspection on the vehicle led officers to the discovery of 24 wrapped packages of methamphetamine concealed inside a non-factory compartment underneath the rear seats. The weight of the narcotic was 25 pounds with a street value of approximately $275,000.
CBP officers placed the driver, a resident of Los Angeles, under arrest for the alleged importation of narcotics into the U.S.
In all three incidents, the drivers were transported to the Imperial County Jail where they currently await arraignment.
CBP seized the narcotics, currency and vehicles.
It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 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.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.