El Paso CBP Seizes Smuggled Cash in Three Incidents
EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents working at El Paso area ports of entry seized $55,739 in unreported currency in three recent cases. The seizures were made at the El Paso, Santa Teresa and Presidio ports of entry.
The most recent seizure was made at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing at the El Paso Port of Entry Dec. 17. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were conducting southbound inspections when they selected a 2004 Ford F-350 for an intensive exam. They conducted a search of the vehicle and located a total of $14,159 in multiple locations. Money was being carried by two adults, in a child's purse and in a compartment in the vehicle. CBP officers also located one counterfeit $100 bill during their inventory of seized property.
"Travelers may 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 funds to CBP," said acting Director of Field Operations in El Paso David Higgerson. "If evidence suggests that travelers intentionally distribute funds among themselves to avoid the $10,000 reporting requirement, then those funds can also be seized. This 'structuring' is a common practice CBP encounters at area ports."
CBP officers at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized $18,775 Dec. 16. CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections when they selected a 2009 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck for a thorough exam. The driver of the vehicle declared $8,000 to CBP officers. CBP officers initiated a search during which they discovered in excess of $10,000 hidden in the footwear of two occupants of the vehicle. A CBP canine then searched the vehicle and alerted to the dashboard. CBP officers located a hidden compartment containing additional funds. The reported funds were returned to the driver and the balance was seized by CBP.
"Every dollar that we seize is important because it makes it more difficult for criminal organizations to further their illicit activities," said Higgerson. "CBP officers and Border Patrol agents checking the movement of southbound goods and people disrupt this flow."
CBP officers working at the Presidio Port of Entry seized $22,805 Dec. 11. This seizure was made when a 2005 Chevrolet pickup arrived at the port from Mexico. The driver reported less than $10,000 to CBP. However, during a search CBP officers located in excess of $22,000 distributed among two travelers in the truck. CBP officers seized the currency and vehicle.
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.