NOGALES, ARIZ.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to Tucson Field Operations seized nearly $125,000 in undeclared U.S. currency Tuesday from a couple headed for Mexico through the Dennis DeConcini Port.
Officers conducting outbound inspections selected a 37-year-old Mexican man and his 33-year-old wife for additional questioning. When officers put the couple's Ford truck on a vehicle lift, they noticed someone had tampered with the transfer case. When the transfer case was opened, officers discovered 34 packages containing $124,800.
The undeclared funds were processed for seizure. The male subject was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. His wife was released without further incident.
During the month of January, more than $875,000 in undeclared outbound currency has been seized at Arizona's ports. That brings the year-to-date seizures for fiscal year 2012, which began Oct. 1, 2011, to almost $1.8 million as compared to the nearly $5 million seized during the same period last year. The total seizure for fiscal year 2011 was $12.2 million.
Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, unprecedented shifts in staffing and infrastructure at Arizona's ports have improved the focus and intensity of operations. These shifts are resulting in more narcotics interceptions; while tougher outbound enforcement is yielding record interceptions of illicit currency, weapons and wanted felons.
Individuals arrested are charged with a criminal complaint, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation's ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
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.