EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized $141,252 Sunday. The money was discovered hidden in a child’s backpack and in a purse.
“There is absolutely no limit to the amount of currency a traveler can bring into or take out of the United States,” said CBP El Paso Port Director Beverly Good. “The only requirement is travelers must report aggregate amounts that reach or exceed $10,000 to CBP. Failure to do so can result in criminal or civil penalties.”
U.S. law requires international travelers to properly report currency in their possession whether traveling into or departing from the United States.
The seizure was made shortly after 9 a.m. when a 2000 Ford Focus with two adults and two children arrived at the outbound lanes at the Ysleta port of entry. CBP officers were conducting a southbound operation at the time and selected the vehicle for an examination. During the inspection CBP officers located bundles of U.S. currency concealed in a child’s back pack. Additional bundles of currency were located in the purse of the female adult passenger.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, a 31-year-old male citizen of Mexico. They also took custody of the passenger, a 27-year-old U.S. citizen female. The subjects, vehicle and currency were turned over to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for prosecution.
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.