U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered a shipment of more than $170,000 in cash being smuggled from California into Mexico at a port of entry.
CBP officers observed a 2018 Nissan Titan approaching in the southbound inspection lanes at the Presidio Port of Entry. Officers determined the driver to be a 48-year-old U.S. citizen. He was accompanied by a 23-year-old Mexican national, according to information obtained from CBP officials.
During a routine exit interview, officers became suspicious and searched the truck. The search revealed multiple bundles of currency wrapped in tape. The officers found the cash hidden inside the tailgate of the truck.
As federal law requires the declaration of large quantities of cash, the officers seized the total $170,030. They also seized the pick-up truck. Officials placed the driver and passenger under arrest and turned them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations special agents. Officials did not disclose the immigration status of the Mexican national.
“CBP officers are working hard to stop the illegal movement of guns, ammunition and unreported currency,” said Michael Neipert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Presidio port director. “Travelers who do not follow federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of losing their currency and may potentially face criminal charges.”
CBP officers assigned to the nation’s ports of entry seize an average of $65 million per year in U.S. cash, according to a CBP report. In Fiscal Year 2019, officers found nearly $33 million. In addition, U.S. Border Patrol agents operating under the CBP umbrella seize about $6 million in smuggled cash.