Nogales, Arizona - A 37 year-old male Mexican national from Caborca, Sonora, Mexico was apprehended yesterday for attempting to smuggle more than $218,000 of unreported U.S. currency into Mexico through the Dennis DeConcini Port.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers from Tucson’s Office of Field Operations were conducting outbound inspections and selected a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo bearing Mexico plates for an examination.
Prior to the inspection, the driver reported $23 and 400 pesos. A male passenger, the vehicle’s owner, stated he had no currency.
During inspection of the vehicle, an x-ray of a box located in the rear cargo area revealed an anomaly inside. When officers opened the box they discovered two cellophane packages containing $218,130 in cash. A pat-down search of both occupants yielded an insignificant amount of currency.
The currency was seized for evidence and the driver was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The passenger was released after questioning.
Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked primarily with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.