CBP Field Operations at Rio Grande Valley International Bridges Seizes More than $1 Million in Narcotics and Currency
HIDALGO, Texas—Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Hidalgo and Pharr International Bridges seized more than $1 million in alleged cocaine, marijuana and unreported U.S. currency in three separate, unrelated incidents and arrested four persons in connection with these failed smuggling attempts.
“I commend our officers for remaining vigilant not only during this holiday season, but throughout the year,” said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “Just as smuggling organizations are continuously seeking to get their product across the border, CBP Field Operations is just as adamant in its efforts to suppress those illicit activities.”
On Dec. 5, CBP officers working at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge came in contact with a 24-year-old male Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico driving a gray 1993 Honda Civic. The driver and vehicle were referred for a secondary inspection and it was there that officers discovered packages of alleged cocaine concealed within the Civic. Officers removed and seized eight packages weighing approximately 19.70 pounds which carry an estimated street value of $630,000.
On Dec. 6, CBP officers working at the same border crossing encountered a red 2000 Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by a 29-year-old female United States citizen from Donna, Texas. A CBP officer referred her and the truck for a secondary examination and during the process of the inspection, Officers discovered packages of alleged marijuana hidden within the pickup. CBP-OFO removed and seized 139 packages weighing approximately 162.61 pounds, with an estimated street value of $162,000.
The last seizure occurred on Dec. 7, at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge after CBP officers working outbound operations selected a tan 2010 Ford Fusion for inspection. The driver, a 29-year-old female United States citizen from Pharr, Texas and the 63-year-old male passenger, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, were referred for a secondary inspection. During the course of the secondary examination, Officers discovered packages of unreported U.S. currency secreted within the Ford sedan. CBP-OFO removed and seized 21 packages containing a total of $255,361 of U.S. currency that was allegedly headed into Mexico without being reported.
CBP Field Operations arrested the four individuals who were ultimately released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation. CBP-OFO also seized all the vehicles involved in the failed smuggling attempts.
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.