Federal authorities in southern Arizona have seized more than $600,000 worth of cocaine during a smuggling attempt. In Texas, over $150,000 in cash was seized while being smuggled into Mexico.
Officer of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP) stopped two women on Wednesday from crossing the Nogales Port of Entry with 54 pounds of cocaine. The two women, Maria Enriquez Davila, 45, Marelina Benitez Valenzuela, 39, were driving a Subaru sedan and presented themselves at a vehicle crossing point, according to a CBP statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. The duo was referred to a secondary inspection point where a K-9 narcotics-detection officer alerted to an odor.
Officers then used a non-intrusive x-ray scanner. The inspection revealed irregularities in the seats. Upon further inspection, CBP officers found 20 packages. The packages tested positive for cocaine.
The drugs and the vehicle were seized and the two women were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HIS). The nationality of the two women was not disclosed in the statement.
Earlier in the week, CBP officers in Hidalgo, Texas, seized over $150,000 in cash that was being smuggled into Mexico. The cash was hidden in a GMC Terrain SUV driven by a 33-year-old U.S. citizen. The man was from Roma, Texas, located in Starr County along the U.S. border with Mexico. The area is notorious for public corruption, and narcotics and human smuggling operations.
The driver of the SUV was referred to a secondary inspection station where CBP officers working at the Hidalgo International Bridge discovered four bundles of U.S. currency hidden in the cargo area, the statement from CBP obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.
“Our ability to deploy officers at the outbound lanes (going into Mexico), allows CBP Field Operations to target travelers who may be attempting to circumvent reporting requirements of merchandise or currency,” Port Director Efrain Solis Jr., Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry said in the statement. “People who choose not to comply with export regulations may be conducting business in an illicit manner and CBP will assert its authority to safeguard against these types of violations.”
While officials noted it is not a crime to carry over $10,000 in cash, it is a crime not to report that currency when crossing through a port of entry, or to conceal the currency in an attempt to evade the reporting requirements.
The currency and vehicle were seized and the unidentified man was turned over to HIS for further investigation.