El Paso, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the El Paso port of entry seized $304,389 Tuesday afternoon. The money was discovered hidden in a vehicle that was leaving the United States at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing.
CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were conducting a southbound inspection operation at the BOTA crossing when a 2002 Dodge Ram pickup being driven by a 22-year-old female legal permanent resident attempted to leave the United States. CBP officers selected the vehicle for an intensive examination. CBP currency detector canine “Bora” searched the vehicle and alerted to the bed area. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents continued their search and located a hidden compartment between the rear wall of the cab of the pickup and a plastic bed liner. They removed eight tape-wrapped bundles from the compartment. The packages were opened revealing $304,389 in U.S. currency. CBP officers seized the currency. The investigation continues.
“There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export however under U.S. law they must report amounts exceeding $10,000 to CBP at the time of the arrival or departure,” said Hector Mancha, U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso port director. “Travelers who do not follow federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of losing their currency and may potentially face criminal charges.”
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.