EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized $80,000 Sunday afternoon. They also confiscated one pound of marijuana. The money and drugs were discovered hidden in a vehicle that was attempting to leave the U.S.
CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were conducting a southbound inspection operation at the Santa Teresa crossing when a 2003 Ford Lobo attempted to leave the U.S. at approximately 2:45 p.m. CBP personnel selected the vehicle for an intensive examination after noting discrepancies in the appearance of the vehicle. CBP currency detector canines searched the vehicle and alerted to the floor. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents continued their search and located a hidden compartment in the floor of the vehicle. They removed multiple tape-wrapped bundles of money in the compartment. They also removed one bundle of marijuana from the floor of the vehicle.
CBP officers arrested the driver, 23-year-old Jose Manuel Jaquez Mendoza of Madera, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.
"CBP officers and Border Patrol agents are working hard to stop the illegal movement of guns, ammunition and unreported currency. Their vigilance paid off in this enforcement action," said Joanne Thale-Lembo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Santa Teresa 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 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.