CBP Officers, Agents Seize More than $1.1 Million in Cash
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents in California and Arizona seized more than $1.1 million in currency during the course of several inspections in the last two weeks.
On Aug. 23, Border Patrol agents from the El Paso Sector seized $122,500 in cash at the Interstate 10 checkpoint near Las Cruces, N.M. Agents discovered the money after an immigration inspection that also resulted in the seizure of two weapons and a small amount of marijuana. Three U.S.citizens were arrested and turned over to other federal agencies for investigation and prosecution.
CBP officers conducting outbound operations Tuesday at the Dennis DeConcini port of entry in Nogales, Ariz., stopped a Ford sedan bound for Mexico. During an extensive search of the vehicle, 23 packages were removed from a non-factory compartment in the front of the vehicle. The packages contained more than $147,000. The 19-year-old driver, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody and handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations for additional investigation.
On Sunday, Aug. 21, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Mariposa port of entry in Arizona stopped a Chevy SUV to question the occupants and perform a vehicle inspection. During the inspection, officers discovered 15 packages of U.S. currency valued at $379,863, hidden inside a compartment built into the vehicle's firewall area. Officers seized the undeclared currency and the vehicle. The driver, a 51-year-old man from Mexico, was arrested and turned over to ICE HSI for further investigation.
On Saturday, Aug. 20, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Dennis DeConcini port of entry stopped a Chevy Traverse to question the occupants and perform a vehicle inspection. During the inspection, officers discovered 26 packages of U.S. currency valued at $494,287 hidden inside a compartment built into the vehicle's firewall. Officers seized the undeclared currency and the vehicle. The driver, a 38-year-old man from Mexico, was arrested and turned over to ICE HSI for further investigation.
On Monday, Aug. 15, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered a 20-year-old male U.S. citizen, and resident of Las Vegas, driving a white 2011 Toyota Camry. During a routine Border Patrol checkpoint stop along highway 395 near Temecula, Calif., agents determined further inspection by a Border Patrol canine team was necessary. Following a cursory inspection of the vehicle, agents found plastic bags of U.S. currency valued at $11,900, and more than six pounds of marijuana inside a suitcase in the vehicle's trunk. The agents seized the narcotics, cash and the vehicle, and the driver was turned over to a multi-agency drug task force.
CBP's focus on outbound inspections has significantly increased the cost of doing business for violent criminal organizations and will continue to serve as a valuable tool in our efforts to conduct effective border operations.
In March 2009, CBP created the Outbound Programs Division within the Office of Field Operations. This division creates plans to stem the outbound flow of firearms, currency, stolen vehicles, and fugitives from the United States. CBP also increased its use of "pulse and surge" strategies for outbound operations on the southwest border. As of July 31, CBP has seized more than $40 million in cash exiting the U.S. this fiscal year.