LAREDO, Texas — US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge intercepted cocaine and currency totaling $1.1 million in value during two separate, unrelated incidents over the weekend.
“CBP conducts enforcement operations to protect against the illegal importation of narcotics and unreported exportations of bulk currency,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “These interceptions exemplify CBP’s commitment to stop the illegal importation and exportation of contraband.”
The first enforcement action occurred on Friday, May 1, after CBP officers assigned to the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge intercepted a commercial bus arriving from Mexico. The 1994 Viaggio bus was referred for a canine and non-intrusive imaging system inspection resulting in the discovery of 54 packages containing 140.92 pounds of alleged cocaine concealed within the conveyance. The narcotics have an estimated street value of $1,086,640.
On Sunday, May 3, officers conducting outbound operations stopped a 2007 Ford E35 van for inspection. Upon physical inspection of the vehicle, packages containing $55,000 of undeclared currency were discovered. The vehicle and currency were seized by CBP.
The seized narcotics and currency have an estimated combined value of $1,141,640.
Both cases were turned over to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.
It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the US or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare 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.