CBP Seizes More Than $150,000 in Undeclared Currency
EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents conducting southbound operations at the El Paso port of entry Wednesday morning stopped a 59-year-old man who was attempting to leave the country with $151,306 in unreported currency.
The seizure was made at approximately 3:40 a.m. while CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were conducting southbound operations at the Stanton Street international bridge. A Border Patrol agent selected a 1996 Ford Ranger for an intensive exam following an interview with the driver.
CBP officers and Border Patrol agents searched the vehicle and a CBP currency and firearms detection canine alerted to a duffle bag in the vehicle. CBP personnel searched the bag and located $6,000 in unreported currency.
CBP officers and Border Patrol agents continued their exam and located four unopened soft drink cans that appeared suspicious. They opened the suspect cans and found bundles of currency rolled-up and concealed within the containers. A total of 1,549 individual bills in U.S. and Mexican currency totaling $151,306 were seized by CBP.
CBP officers arrested the driver, 59-year-old Juan Francisco Dominguez Morales of San Diego, California. He was turned over to ICE special agents for federal prosecution. He was booked into the El Paso County jail without bond. The vehicle was seized by CBP officers.
"The combined efforts of our CBP officers working together with Border Patrol agents in the outbound area creates a force multiplier effect that results in significant seizures," said Hector Mancha, CBP port director, El Paso. "Every single dollar we stop from being smuggled out of the country makes it harder for criminal organizations to further their illegal activity."
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.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
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.