Border Patrol agents in southern California seized nearly $300,000 in “illicit cash” from a suspected smuggler headed south.
The incident occurred at about 10 a.m. on Monday morning when Border Patrol agents assigned to the San Clemente Border Patrol Station stopped a 2015 Nissan Altima headed south on Interstate 5 near Oceanside, California. A K-9 agent alerted to the presence of suspicious materials in the trunk of the sedan. A search of the vehicle by Border Patrol agents revealed a sealed 5-gallon bucket of paint, information obtained by Breitbart Texas from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials stated.
The agents opened the suspicious paint bucket and discovered six vacuum-packed bundles of cash. A count of the cash revealed the total amount to be $290,000. Agents suspect the cash represents the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs.
“This seizure is a product of the tremendous abilities of Border Patrol agents and canine assets to detect and interdict smuggling activity along the Interstate 5 corridor,” Patrol Agent in Charge Thomas Blanks said in the written statement. Thomas is in charge of the San Clemente Border Patrol Station in southern California.
Border Patrol agents arrested the driver of the Nissan sedan and turned him over to Homeland Security Investigations. The $290,000 in cash and the 2015 Nissan Altima were seized by federal authorities.
Breitbart California reported a record cash seizure in August. Agents assigned to the San Diego Sector stopped a Kia Forte on Interstate 15. While stopping the Kia, the agents also took note of a Volkswagen Passat that was following the Kia. The Passat sped away when agents stopped the driver of the Kia.
After discovering more than $33,000 stashed in the Kia, agents began searching for the Passat. They eventually found the suspicious vehicle hidden at the end of a cul-de-sac. Agents also found the vehicle’s driver, a Mexican national, hiding nearby in the brush. A search of that vehicle revealed $3,018,000 in cash, the largest cash seizure ever for this sector. The cash was hidden in several boxes in the trunk of the Passat.
“This amount of money represents the largest currency seizure ever in San Diego Sector,” Chief Patrol Agent Richard A. Barlow said at the time in a written statement. “The hard work and perseverance demonstrated by the involved agents was essential for this outcome.”
The drivers of both of these vehicles were arrested. The vehicles and the $3,051,880 in cash were seized.