U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped nearly $40,000 in cash from being smuggled into Mexico, likely into the hands of a Mexican drug cartel.
CBP officers assigned to the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas became suspicious of a woman leaving Texas heading to Mexico. The woman, who was driving a 2010 SUV, was departing the U.S. on Monday when the officers conducted an outbound inspection of her vehicle, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from CBP officials.
The inspection uncovered several bundles of cash the woman had not declared on her departure paperwork. The cash totaled $37,901 in U.S. currency. Agents seized the cash and arrested the driver of the SUV.
“Seizing undeclared currency at ports of entry serves to deprive criminal organizations of their profits,” Del Rio Port of Entry Port Director Alberto D. Perez said in a written statement. “Large amounts of currency may be imported and exported with the proper documentation.
The woman, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen who was currently living in Mexico, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigation where she may face charges related to bulk cash smuggling because she failed to disclose she was taking over $10,000 in U.S. currency out of the country.
“Failure to report international transit of $10,000 or more could mean forfeiture of funds and criminal sanctions,” Perez stated.
Immigration and Customs officials define bulk cash smuggling as:
Whoever, with the intent to evade a currency reporting requirement, knowingly conceals more than $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments on the person of such individual or in any conveyance, article of luggage, merchandise, or other container, and transports or transfers or attempts to transport or transfer such currency or monetary instruments from a place within the United States to a place outside of the United States, or from a place outside the United States to a place within the United States, shall be guilty of a currency smuggling offense.
If the woman is charged and convicted, she could face up to 5 years in prison and forfeiture of the cash.
U.S. Border Patrol agents also confiscated two large quantities of cash that appeared to be headed to Mexico on Monday. Border Patrol agents in southern California seized nearly $300,000 in “illicit cash” from a suspected smuggler headed south. In August, Breitbart California reported a record cash seizure for the San Diego Sector when agents found more than $3 million in a Kia Forte.