Unreported Cash Seized by CBP in Nogales

Stacks of U.S. currency seized by CBP for not being reported in the amount of $142,000

CBP officers in Nogales, Arizona, made some big cash seizures this week. In the first case, $143,000 was seized and in the second case, only $20,000 was seized.

Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations, officers arrested 2 Mexican nationals and a U.S. citizen for separate alleged attempts to smuggle nearly $163,000 in unreported currency …. through the Port of Nogales earlier this week.

Officers conducting outgoing operations at the Dennis DeConcini Crossing referred a 28-year-old Mexican national man for additional inspection of his Chevy SUV, as he attempted to enter Mexico through the port Monday afternoon. The search of the vehicle led to the discovery of several packages within the left quarter panel. The packages contained more than $142,000 in unreported U.S. currency.

Tuesday afternoon, officers conducting outbound operations at the Mariposa Crossing referred a 22-year-old Tucson woman for a further search of her Honda sedan, as she attempted to cross into Mexico through the port. Officers searched the subject, who had two bundles of unreported U.S. currency inside of her purse containing more than $20,000.

Officers seized the currency, … and vehicles, while the subjects were arrested and then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Note how the $143,000 was hidden in the quarter panel of the vehicle (i.e., a body panel); and then how the $20,000 seized from the 22 year old woman was just inside her purse.

In both cases, the failure to report the money, coupled with the fact it was not presented to CBP and was in plain view, will allow CBP to allege that the money was hidden with the intent it not be reported to CBP, which is considered bulk cash smuggling.

The story also states everyone was arrested, which is for me a little surprising in the case of the woman with $20,000. I have a lot of clients who do not report amounts cash at or above that level, and they do not get arrested or face criminal sanctions. That leads me to believe this money she seized had connections to illegal activity.

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