YUMA, ARIZ.—Border Patrol agents from Yuma Sector's Blythe Station seized $68,362 in cash and 32 pounds of marijuana in five separate incidents yesterday while conducting checkpoint operations on Interstate 10.
In the early morning hours, agents referred a 2010 Dodge Challenger to secondary inspection following a canine team alert. After the driver consented to a vehicle search, agents found $14,930 cash inside a plastic shopping bag concealed in the trunk under the carpet, as well as a loaded .40-caliber pistol under the back seat.
Agents found a vehicle stuck in the median of the freeway after its driver attempted to make a U-turn. While assisting the driver, agents discovered $12,338 cash and 32 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $16,038, hidden in the vehicle's trunk. After further investigation, it was determined that the driver was attempting to avoid the checkpoint and that the cash was left over from purchasing the marijuana found in the trunk.
Later that morning, agents referred a vehicle to secondary inspection following a canine team alert. During a search of the vehicle, agents discovered $8,664 cash, a firearm and a vacuum-seal machine in the trunk.
Agents referred a silver BMW to secondary inspection and obtained the driver's consent to search the vehicle. During the search, agents found $25,000 cash concealed in two backpacks. Notes in the backpacks contained information about the pickup and delivery of controlled substances.
Agents referred a grey sedan to secondary inspection following a canine team alert. While performing a search of the vehicle, agents discovered $7,430 cash and a vacuum-seal machine covered with marijuana residue.
All suspects, cash and contraband were turned over to the La Paz County Sheriff's Office.
When Border Patrol agents discover large amounts of currency during checkpoint inspections, they investigate further to determine whether the currency has a nexus to illicit activity. During fiscal year 2011, the Yuma Sector seized more than $800,000 determined as profits generated from illegal activity.
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.