Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a woman on Friday after they discovered $829,980 in unreported U.S. currency hidden in the gas tank of the vehicle she was driving.
The incident occurred at about 12:30 p.m. on August 9th, when CBP officers, together with members of the Imperial Valley Border Enforcement Security Task Force (IV-BEST), were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico through the Calexico downtown port of entry. Officers targeted a 2007 Honda Accord and referred the driver for further examination.
During an intensive inspection that included an alert from a currency and firearms detector dog, officers discovered 39 vacuum sealed packages of U.S. currency concealed inside the vehicle’s gas tank.
CBP officers arrested the driver and seized the money and vehicle.
The driver, a 47-year-old Mexican citizen, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents with the Imperial Valley Border Enforcement Security Task Force who transported her to the Imperial County Jail.
CBP placed an immigration hold on the driver to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of her criminal proceedings.
It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.