Back in June, CBP made a big bust of $145,000 in “unreported” currency that was concealed in a vehicle’s rear quarter panels as the driver, a Mexican national, was trying to leave the United States for Mexico at the DeConcini border crossing.
[On June 18], [CBP] officers conducting routine outbound inspections referred a 46-year-old Mexican man for an inspection of his Chevrolet SUV at the DeConcini crossing. Officers found more than $145,000 in unreported U.S. currency in the vehicle’s rear quarter panels.
CBP seized the cash not just because it was “not reported” but because bulk cash smuggling — the fact of hiding the money in the quarter panel of a vehicle — is illegal and there are civil and criminal penalties for it.
Because of the southern border’s famous ties to the U.S.-Mexico illegal drug trade, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where this money was not connected to illegal activity. Even if this man came upon the money in a lawful way — for example, it was a life insurance payout from his deceased father — there is still no good reason for hiding the money in the quarter panel of his vehicle.
Or is there? Years ago, we represented a person who smuggled gold pieces across the U.S. Canadian border in the airbox of his vehicle, because they thought that would be safest spot for it on his journey through the U.S. to his return home in the heart of the country.
So, while it’s very likely that this guy who had $145,000 hidden in his truck is a mule for the drug trade, attempting to move illict cash across the border… it’s definitely not the only explanation. As it is famously said, truth is stranger than fiction.
Has CBP seized currency from you?
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