More than $210,000 seized at Port of Entry
July 24th 2012 · 4 Comments
CALEXICO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found more than $210,000 in undeclared cash hidden in a gas tank at the downtown Port of Entry here early Friday, according to a USBP press release.
Officers targeted a silver 1996 Nissan Maxima driven by Fernando Lopez Medel, a 29-year-old male legal permanent resident of the U.S. in Calexico, while inspecting vehicles leaving the U.S. around 1 a.m. Friday. The man was with his wife and minor daughter.
A detector dog screened the vehicle and alerted to the gas tank, and a CBP officer then used a fiber optic scope to look inside where packages were spotted. Ten packages containing $210,499 in undeclared cash were extricated.
CBP Public Affairs Officer John Campos said detector dogs are used for a variety of search purposes including for narcotics, money and weapons.
“When we seize cash during an attempt to illegally smuggle it out of the country, we significantly increase the cost of doing business for violent criminal organizations,” San Diego Director of Field Operations Chris Maston wrote in a release. “Outbound inspections will continue to serve as a valuable tool in our efforts to enforce smart, effective and strategic border operations.”
The vehicle and currency were seized, and the driver faces criminal charges. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and his wife and daughter were released.
A version of this column originally appeared in www.ivpressonline.com.
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