CBP: Detergent Box Doubles as Cash-Smuggling Cover
POSTED: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 5:31pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 6:48pm
EL PASO — Over $50 thousand was found hidden in a box of laundry detergent at the Bridge of the Americas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents.
The box had five vacuum sealed plastic bags of currency hidden inside. CBP officers took custody of the driver, 36-year-old Edgar Lopez Chavez, a citizen of Mexico residing in Aurora, Colo. He was arrested by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents to face federal prosecution. He is currently being held without bond at the El Paso County jail.
“Every dollar that we seize is one less dollar available for criminal organizations to further their illicit activities,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. “The persistent presence of CBP officers and Border Patrol agents checking the flow of southbound goods and people are generating important enforcement activity regularly.”
Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S. However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.