Customs Seizes Money Smuggled in Gas Tank

Although this case is definitely outside the realm of your average failure to report currency in excess of $10,000, I always find these types of smuggling cases interesting because they show the great lengths and cleverness that people will go when smuggling. It also shows that great talent of the men and women (and their trained dogs) of U.S. Customs & Border Protection in detecting smugglers and smuggled property.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”) reports another currency seizure at the U.S.-Mexico border, as follows:

Calexico, Calif. — U.S. law enforcement officials in Calexico, Calif. found more than $750,000 cash hidden in a gas tank Monday, in a vehicle headed into Mexico.

At about 10 a.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, together with members of the Imperial Valley Border Enforcement Security Task Force, were conducting inspections of vehicles in the U.S. headed south into Mexico at the downtown Calexico port of entry.

Officers targeted a silver 2005 Honda Accord, driven by a 24-year-old female U.S. citizen, for inspection.

A CBP officer with a currency/firearms detector dog screened the vehicle, and the canine alerted to the gas tank area.

Officials found 42 packages of unreported U.S. currency, vacuum sealed in clear plastic bags, floating within the gas tank. The currency totaled $762,930. Officials also found another $221 in U.S. currency on the driver.

CBP officers seized the currency and the vehicle, and turned the driver over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents with the Imperial Valley Border Enforcement Security Task Force. The San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute the driver.

Yes, that’s right, over three-quarters of a million dollars floating in bags in an automobile’s gas tank. And the dog still smelled it.

If you have had currency seized and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information I make available on this website or call my office at (734) 855-4999 or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with currency seizures around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.