U.S. Feds Seize $1 Million in Gulf Cartel Cash En Route to Border

Cartel Money
Courtesy Kingsville Police

U.S. authorities are tracking down the individuals behind a shipment of $1 million dollars headed south to Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. 

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations are expanding on a traffic stop in Kingsville, Texas, where authorities found 69 bundles with $1,071,503 in the cabin of a tractor-trailer heading for McAllen, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed. 

Santos Hernandez Juarez, used a B1-B2 visa to drive in the U.S. for a company based in Donna, Texas. He was pulled over by local police in Kingsville because his license plate was covered, records say. During the traffic stop, Hernandez appeared unusually nervous, raising the suspicions of the police officer who asked for permission to search the vehicle. The officer noticed the mattress in the truck’s cabin was heavier than normal and found 69 bundles of cash inside. 

The truck was taken to the Kingsville Police Station where a K-9 was used to search for drugs, cash, or weapons. The dog alerted to the cabin area where the cash was allegedly found. Initially, Hernandez told authorities that he delivered a load of produce to New York and was on his way back when three men approached him, asking to deliver an unknown item to McAllen in exchange for $9,000 USD. 

Agents with HSI asked Hernandez for permission to look at his three phones. After he agreed, authorities found messages that disproved his original version of events. When confronted, Hernandez changed his story, the criminal complaint revealed. Hernandez told the agents that he met a man at a mechanic shop in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, who told him he could make extra money. The man instructed Hernandez to wait for another person to contact and coordinate the delivery of cash and receive 1.5 percent of the funds safely delivered to McAllen, Texas. 

Hernandez was formally charged with one count of cash smuggling and remains in federal custody without bond. HSI agents wrote in the criminal complaint that the operation was tied to the Gulf Cartel, which controls Matamoros, and is considered to be a brutal criminal organization that regularly uses tractor-trailers to move drugs north and proceeds south. 

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon.  You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.

Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.

Tony Aranda contributed to this report. 

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