U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers Seize Heroin Valued at over $3 Million and $156,700 Bulk U.S. Currency at Rio Grande Valley Ports of Entry
RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge discovered heroin valued at approximately $3,090,000 allegedly being smuggled into the country by a man driving a Ford F250. In a separate case CBP officers and Border Patrol agents discovered $156.676 bulk U.S. currency hidden with a Nissan Xterra at the Hidalgo Bridge.
On Thursday, December 20, CBP officers at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge encountered a male identified as a 50-year-old Mexico citizen who resides in Brownsville, Texas as the driver of a black 1999 Ford F250. A CBP officer referred the Ford and its driver to secondary for further inspection after a primary examination revealed discrepancies with vehicle. During the CBP secondary examination CBP officers discovered the Ford's drive shaft encapsulated alleged heroin. CBP officers removed a total of 14 kilograms (30.9 pounds) of alleged heroin from within the Ford F250's drive shaft.
The alleged heroin from this seizure has an estimated street value of approximately $3,090,000. CBP officers seized the narcotics and turned the driver over to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.
On December 22, CBP officers and Border Patrol agents working outbound enforcement operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge encountered a black Nissan Xterra as it attempted to exit the United States and enter Mexico. The driver, a 52 year-old citizen of Mexico who resides in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico was referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, a search of the Nissan resulted in the discovery of 19 bundles of bulk U.S. currency with a total of $156,676 hidden within the vehicle's gas tank.
CBP officers seized the currency the vehicle and the case has been referred to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.
"Nearly 31 pounds of heroin worth over $3 million have been stopped by CBP officers at the Brownsville and Matamoros Bridge. Just up river at the Hidalgo Bridge CBP officers and Border Patrol agents have prevented close to $157,000 from being exported without complying with proper reporting requirements. I applaud and congratulate our officers and agents for the work they do every day," said Gene Garza, Director, Field Operations, Laredo Field Office.
It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.