CBP officers in Texas are the frontline of the United States in its war against illicit trafficking of narcotics and the proceeds of the sale of narcotics. For this reason, the are skeptical of people who were traveling across the border with large amounts of cash, especially when it is hidden and not reported before discovery.
In a story that comes out of Brownsville Texas, last fall, CBP officers encountered a twenty-year-old Mexican citizen departing the United States from Mexico. As part of the outbound inspection, officers discovered a total of $46,085 hidden inside the vehicle.
This is a classic case of bulk cash smuggling. Bulk cash smuggling occurs whenever anyone with the intent to not report the money to U.S. Customs upon importer export, hides it in some way with the intention that it not be discovered or reported.
Here’s the full story:
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge Port of Entry seized $46,085 in bulk, unreported U.S. currency.
“CBP officers may conduct inspections before travelers leave the United States. This routine inspection led to this seizure and is a testament to the diligence and sense of duty our officers have when carrying out outbound inspections,” said Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry.
The seizure took place on Thursday, Oct. 1, when CBP officers working at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge encountered a 20-year-old male Mexican citizen from McAllen, Texas, as the driver of a gray 2012 Ford F-150, who was selected for an outbound inspection. CBP officers conducted a visual and physical search of the vehicle which resulted in the discovery of bulk undeclared U.S. currency totaling $46,085 hidden within the vehicle.
CBP officers seized the currency and the vehicle, arrested the traveler and turned him over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.
The penalties for bulk cash smuggling are steep, even if the money is shown to be from a legitimate source and have a legitimate intended use. Moreover, the likelihood of criminal charges arising from the bulk cash smuggling at the Mexico border are greater than for a simple failure to report.
Has Brownsville CBP taken your cash?
If Brownsville CBP has taken your cash, please call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.