PRESIDIO, TX – Customs and Border Patrol confirmed agents seized nearly half a million dollars aboard a commercial bus at the Presidio port of entry earlier this week.
According to CBP, the seizure occurred around lunchtime on July 20th when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Homeland Security Investigations special agents conducted a southbound operation at the Presidio crossing.
As agents processed a commercial bus selected for inspection, a K-9 altered the presence of currency or firearms.
While scanning the bus with a non-intrusive x-ray system, agents noticed anomalies in a wall behind the restroom. A search of the bus resulted in agents locating 14 bundles filled with U.S. dollars. The total currency recovered was $465,755.
The six passengers aboard the bus were processed and released and authorities seized the bus and unreported currency.
Homeland Security Investigations agents then arrested two men in connection with the seizure. The men, ages 47 and 68, were citizens of Mexico.
“The majority of CBP’s work involves the processing of people and items entering the U.S. from abroad however CBP also routinely conducts operations to stop the flow of unreported currency, weapons, ammunition, and other items from leaving the U.S.,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “ I commend the CBP officers and HSI agents who working together made this significant intercept.”
There is no legal limit regarding the amount of money that travels may carry when they cross the U.S. border, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States.
The consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges. An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency were legitimate.