Hidalgo, Texas - U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working outbound enforcement operations at the Hidalgo/Reynosa International Bridge seized $1,458,923 in undeclared bulk U.S. currency.
On Feb. 23, CBP officers and Border Patrol agents working outbound enforcement operations at the Hidalgo/Reynosa International Bridge came in contact with a commercial bus that was headed south into Mexico. CBP officers boarded the bus and interviewed the driver and passengers. After these interviews, the bus and passengers were referred to secondary for further inspection.
While in secondary, officers inspected the baggage allegedly belonging to three female passengers, all from Dalton, Ga. The 22- and 35-year-old females were identified as U.S. citizens, while the 55-year-old was listed as a Mexican citizen.
CBP officers seized $404,126 in bulk U.S. currency that was discovered within baggage allegedly belonging to the 22-year-old and $554,121 in bulk U.S. currency that was also discovered within the baggage allegedly belonging to the 35-year-old traveler. Officers further seized $500,676 in bulk U.S. currency that was also found within baggage allegedly belonging to the 55-year-old woman. In total, CBP officers seized $1,458,923 in undeclared bulk U.S. currency.
The three women were transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation.
Hector A. Mancha, CBP port director in Hidalgo/Pharr said, "I commend our frontline officers for their outstanding work in intercepting and seizing this huge amount of bulk U.S. currency. This is yet one more example of CBP officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working together to seize and disrupt the illegal flow of cash that was headed into Mexico."
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.
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.