DOUGLAS, ARIZ.—Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Tucson Field Office seized nearly $72,000 in unreported U.S. currency Friday from a woman headed to Mexico with her minor child through the Douglas Port.
Officers conducting outbound inspections selected a 38-year-old Tucson woman travelling with her six-year-old daughter for additional questioning. When officers put the woman's Chrysler sedan through a routine X-ray, they noticed an anomaly behind the back seat. Officers then found a non-factory compartment with a package inside containing $71,600.
The vehicle and unreported funds were processed for seizure. The woman was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. Her daughter was turned over to a family member.
During January, more than $962,000 in unreported outbound currency was seized at Arizona's ports. That brings the year-to-date seizures for fiscal year 2012, which began Oct. 1, 2011, to almost $1.9 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.