CBP Seizes Over $200,000 in Undeclared Currency
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting southbound operations in cooperation with Border Patrol agents at El Paso area ports of entry seize $245,867 in four southbound currency seizures from leaving the country for the period of Wednesday, October 6, 2010 to Monday Columbus Day.
In addition to the currency seizures CBP officers made ten marijuana busts for a total of 672.23 pounds for the period.
"We are proud of our front line officers who work tirelessly in apprehending all types of criminals. While criminals come up with creative ways to smuggle illicit goods, our officers are always quick to find them," said Bill Molaski, 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."
The largest of the four currency seizures was made at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday while CBP officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents were conducting southbound operations at the Stanton Bridge in El Paso. CBP officers selected a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee for an intensive exam. The driver of the vehicle said she had nothing to declare during routine questioning by the CBP officer.
CBP officers initiated an intensive exam where CBP currency and firearms detector sniffing dog "Enzo" alerted to the vehicle. CBP officers notice discrepancies on the manifold of the engine compartment where they found 37 bundles of Canadian currency hidden inside totaling $106,000 Canadian dollars ($107,982 when converted to US dollars).
The driver, 37-year-old Marlene Gonzalez of Manteca, California and her passenger, 22-year-old Yeimi Gonzalez-Corella of Tucson, Arizona were turned over to ICE special agents after federal prosecution was accepted. The pair remains in the El Paso County jail without bond. The vehicle was seized by CBP officers.
On Thursday, CBP officers seized $86,235 while working southbound operations at the Ysleta Bridge. The currency along with 34.10 grams of cocaine was found in the battery of a 2003 Ford F150.
The driver, 42-year-old Irene Jimenez and her passenger, 35-year-old Joanna Espinoza were turned over to ICE special agents after federal prosecution was accepted. Both are US citizens who reside in Lubbock, Texas. The pair remains in the El Paso County jail without bond. The vehicle was seized by CBP officers.
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.
CBP officers also recorded 70 immigration violations at area ports this week including 63 intended immigrants and seven imposters. Intended immigrants will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. They also lose their documents and are generally returned to Mexico. Imposters generally will use a legitimate entry document assigned to another person and present it as their own. Violators generally lose their documents, can be prosecuted and go to jail and/or are returned to Mexico.
CBP officers working at area ports made a total of ten fugitive apprehensions during the period.
CBP officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico made seven seizures of agricultural items. Violators paid $1,325 in penalties in association with the violations. Prohibited food products seized included pork lard, pork sausage, apples, grapefruits, pomegranate, kiwis, guavas, live plant with soil and 14 live fighting roosters.
CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.
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.