Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Laredo Port of Entry this week seized alleged cocaine valued at $1.3 million and $119,000 in unreported currency in two separate, unrelated enforcement actions.
The cocaine seizure occurred on June 27, during an examination at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge. A CBP officer referred a 2006 Nissan Maxima driven by a 42-year-old U.S. citizen from Houston for a secondary examination. CBP officers conducted an intensive examination and discovered 32 packages containing nearly 43 pounds of alleged cocaine hidden within the vehicle. The cocaine has an estimated street value of $1.3 million.
Earlier in the week, on June 24, CBP officers conducting outbound examinations at the same bridge referred a 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis taxicab carrying a 31-year-old female U.S. citizen passenger from Laredo for a secondary examination. During the examination, CBP officers discovered a total of $119,000 in unreported currency hidden in two carry bags.
CBP officers turned the vehicle driver and the taxi passenger over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents for further investigation.
"Our frontline CBP officers maintained their vigilance amid extreme heat and large volumes of summer travelers and took down significant loads of hard narcotics and unreported currency," said Sidney Aki, CBP Port Director, Laredo. "I commend our officers on a job well done and their dedication to CBP's border security mission."
Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S. However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. 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 keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.