NOGALES, ARIZ.—Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Tucson Field Office seized nearly $275,000 of unreported U.S. currency Tuesday from two individuals headed for Mexico through the Mariposa Port.
Officers conducting outbound inspections selected a Volkswagen sedan driven by Jorge Javier Velasco, a 52-year-old resident of Nogales, Ariz., for additional questioning and closer inspection. Subsequently, officers used a vehicle lift to discover the unreported cash wrapped in 18 packages and hidden under the vehicle's main frame.
The unreported funds and vehicle were processed for seizure. Velasco and his passenger, 40-old-year old Maria Luisa Ramirez-Cota of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, were arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, unprecedented shifts in staffing and infrastructure at Arizona's ports have improved the focus and intensity of operations. These shifts are resulting in more narcotics interceptions; while tougher outbound enforcement is yielding record interceptions of illicit currency, weapons and wanted felons.
Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation's ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
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.