El Paso, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the El Paso port of entry seized $398,700 Monday afternoon. The money was discovered hidden in a vehicle that was leaving the U.S. at the Ysleta international crossing at the El Paso port of entry.
CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were conducting a southbound inspection operation at the Ysleta crossing when a 2001 Ford Explorer attempted to leave the U.S. at approximately 12:30 p.m. CBP personnel selected the vehicle for an intensive examination after a preliminary interview with the driver. CBP currency detector canine “Krog” searched the vehicle and alerted to the floor. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents continued their search and located a hidden compartment in the rear floor area of the vehicle. They removed 20 bundles from the compartment. The packages were opened revealing $398,700 in U.S. currency. CBP officers seized the currency.
CBP officers took custody of the driver, 31-year-old Raymundo Alfredo Hernandez, a U.S. citizen residing in Juarez, Mexico. He was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt and booked into the El Paso County jail where he is being held without bond.
“CBP officers and Border Patrol agents are checking southbound traffic everyday trying to stop guns, ammunition and unreported currency from being smuggled out of the country. Their diligence paid off in this enforcement action,” said Hector Mancha, U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso port director “There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export however under U.S. law they must report amounts exceeding $10,000 to CBP at the time of the arrival or departure. Travelers who do not follow federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of losing their currency and may potentially face criminal charges.”
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.