EL PASO, TX – Officers working at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations’ El Paso port of entry (POE) seized $689,506 in currency yesterday afternoon. The money was discovered hidden in a vehicle that was leaving the U.S. at the Ysleta international crossing at the El Paso POE.
The seizure was made Sunday evening when a 2006 Nissan X-Terra arrived at the outbound inspection station at the Ysleta crossing. CBP personnel interviewed the driver and received a negative declaration for any currency in excess of $10,000, weapons or ammunition. CBP personnel selected the vehicle for a secondary exam during which they located several bundles of currency hidden within a speaker box.
CBP officers arrested a 28-year-old male driver, of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.
“CBP officers are checking southbound traffic everyday trying to stop guns, ammunition and unreported currency from being smuggled out of the country. Their diligence paid off in this enforcement action,” said Beverly Good, U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso Port Director. “There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export however under U.S. law they must report amounts exceeding $10,000 to CBP at the time of the arrival or departure. Travelers who do not follow federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of losing their currency and may potentially face criminal charges.”
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 a significant number of enforcement actions in all categories.