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El Paso CBP Officers Make Half-Million Dollar Currency Seizure

Release Date: 
August 19, 2010

El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers performing southbound inspections at the Stanton Street international crossing in downtown El Paso seized $530,170 late Wednesday morning. The money was concealed in a single tire.

Money hidden inside a spare tire.

CBP officers at the El Paso port of entry seized $530,170 in smuggled currency on Wednesday, August 18, 2010. The money was hidden inside a spare tire. A man was arrested after trying to transport the unreported currency to Mexico.

The seizure was made shortly before noon when a 2006 Chevrolet 2500 arrived at the southbound crossing attempting to enter Mexico. CBP officers were performing outbound inspections and selected the vehicle for a thorough exam. CBP officers used a "Buster" density meter on the vehicle and received high readings consistent with concealed contraband when checking the spare tire. A CBP currency detecting dog also alerted to the tire. CBP officers opened the tire and spotted bundles of currency inside. They removed a total of $530,170 of unreported currency from the tire.

Money hidden inside a spare tire.

CBP officers at the El Paso port of entry seized $530,170 in smuggled currency on Wednesday, August 18, 2010. The money was hidden inside a spare tire. A man was arrested after trying to transport the unreported currency to Mexico.

"This is an exceptionally large and significant currency seizure," said William Molaski, CBP Port Director in El Paso. "Every last dollar we stop from being smuggled out of the country makes it that much harder for criminal organizations to further their illegal pursuits."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents arrested the driver of the vehicle on currency smuggling charges. He is identified as 40-year-old Francisco Castaneda Castillo of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He is currently detained at the El Paso County Detention Facility.

The seizure is the largest made by CBP officers in El Paso since an $802,720 outbound seizure made at the Bridge of the Americas on Sept. 11, 2009. Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S. If the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP.

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 (CBP) 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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017