PHARR, Texas—Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Pharr International Bridge seized over $1 million in alleged cocaine and just over $300,000 in unreported U.S. currency in two separate, unrelated incidents this weekend.
“This was certainly a productive weekend for enforcement purposes by our frontline officers,” said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “Our ability to judiciously target and select those vehicles and travelers that could possibly pose a threat, is how Field Operations produces enforcement actions while facilitating legitimate travelers.”
On Nov. 28, CBP officers working at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge came in contact with a brown 2001 Chevrolet Blazer driven by a 51-year-old female Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas. After presenting her Mexican border crossing card, she was referred for a secondary inspection. While conducting the examination, Officers discovered packages of alleged cocaine concealed within the spare tire of the Blazer. CBP officers removed and seized 14 packages weighing approximately 33.3 pounds and seized the Chevy as well.
On Nov. 29, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the same border crossing selected a silver 2006 Honda Accord for examination. The driver, a 52-year-old male Mexican citizen from Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico was referred for a secondary inspection and it was there that officers discovered packages of unreported United States currency concealed within the Accord. CBP officers removed and seized 30 wrapped packages containing a total of $300,060 in U.S. currency and also seized the Honda.
CBP Field Operations arrested both travelers who were ultimately released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) 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.
CBP’s Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.
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.