Border patrol officers announced Tuesday they arrested two adults caught trying to smuggle $141,252 in cold, hard cash from Texas to Mexico.
The couple, traveling with two children, was caught at the El Paso Ysleta port of entry Sunday. The money turned up in the woman's purse and a child's backpack.
It’s not illegal to bring money back and forth. However, travelers do have to properly report their currency when either leaving or entering the United States.
“There is absolutely no limit to the amount of currency a traveler can bring into or take out of the United States,” Customs and Border Protection El Paso Port Director Beverly Good explained in a statement. “The only requirement is travelers must report aggregate amounts that reach or exceed $10,000 to CBP. Failure to do so can result in criminal or civil penalties.”
The arrest unfolded Sunday morning after the couple tried to drive the car, with two children in the back, into Mexico through the port of entry. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a search.
Officers arrested the 31-year-old male driver who is a Mexican citizen, and the 27-year-old female passenger, an American. They were turned over to the El Paso County Sheriff’s office along with the car and the cash for prosecution.
Although the main goal of the Customs and Border Patrol is anti-terrorism, officers also search cars heading into Mexico for illegal items like guns, ammunition, and unreported money.
Customs and Border Patrol Agents also seized more than 15 pounds of cocaine at the Santa Teresa port of entry in New Mexico Friday and Sunday. In two separate seizures, the CBP officers found cocaine in the engine areas of two trucks. Officers used K-9’s and x-ray machines to help find the drugs.
“These were deeply concealed drug loads,” said CBP Santa Teresa Port Director Ray Provencio in a statement. “Smugglers worked hard to conceal the contraband. However, our highly professional CBP officers worked even harder to discover and seize the cocaine.”