CBP Seizes Smuggled Cash Hidden in Purse
EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and Border Patrol agents conducting southbound operations at the El Paso port of entry seized $25,755 in unreported currency Wednesday. The cash was hidden in a purse.
The seizure was made at the Paso Del Norte international crossing at approximately 4 p.m. when a female walking southbound was selected for inspection by CBP personnel. A U.S. Border Patrol agent initiated a conversation and then searched her purse. The agent spotted several bundles in the bag. A further examination revealed three wrapped bundles which contained the unreported cash.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 29-year-old Irma Ariana Varela Antillon of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She was arrested by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents to face federal prosecution. She is currently being held without bond at the El Paso County jail.
"The unreported cash that we seize has an impact on the criminal organizations by making it more difficult for them to further their illicit activities," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. "CBP officers and Border Patrol agents performing southbound inspections at all area crossings are generating important enforcement activity regularly."
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 report 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.