HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a 44-year-old woman from Houston after discovering $2,906,000 worth of alleged methamphetamine and heroin concealed within the pickup truck she was driving. Officers also seized over $188,000 in unreported U.S. currency days earlier.
“Just as smugglers continue their illicit activities during the holidays, our officers at OFO also sustain a proactive enforcement posture aimed at preventing dangerous drugs and unreported currency from crossing our borders,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/ Anzalduas.
CBP officers working at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge on Dec. 31, 2020 encountered a female United States citizen arriving from Mexico in a 2007 Chevy Silverado pickup and referred her for a more thorough examination. With the use of a non-intrusive imaging (NII) system as part of the secondary inspection, officers discovered 23 packages weighing 136.5 lbs. (61.92 kg) of alleged methamphetamine and two packages of alleged heroin weighing 7.76 pounds (3.52 kg) concealed within the truck’s tires.
Days earlier, CBP officers working outbound operations at the same border crossing selected a Chrysler Pacifica driven by a 45-year-old man, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) Mexican national from Illinois for further inspection. The secondary inspection resulted in the discovery of 36 packages containing a total of $188,797 in unreported U.S. currency that were hidden within the vehicle.
CBP OFO seized the narcotics, currency, the vehicles and arrested both persons involved in the failed smuggling attempts. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) took them into custody while they continue with the investigations.
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.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.