Two female Mexican nationals were arrested Wednesday in separate incidents for attempting to smuggle a combined $61,340 of unreported U.S. currency into Mexico through the Dennis DeConcini Port.
Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Office of Field Operations were conducting outbound inspections and selected a 26-year-old woman from Sinaloa for further inspection before allowing her to exit the U.S. through a pedestrian lane.
During the search, a CBP officer noticed the woman appeared to be concealing something under her clothing, which turned out to be $20,000 in cash.
A further search revealed another $13,400 in her shoes and $5,600 in pair of pants she was carrying. Officers then found $10,979 in the woman's purse, bringing the total amount seized to $49,979.
Two hours later, officers referred a 43-year-old woman from Nogales, Sonora, for further inspection as she was about to exit the U.S. through a pedestrian lane. A subsequent search led to the discovery of $11,361 in her purse. The woman told officers the money came from selling drugs and that she was being paid to deliver the funds back to Mexico.
All funds were seized and both women were arrested on charges of bulk cash smuggling.
"The seizures are proof that law-breakers are being actively sought as they attempt to return to Mexico," said Nogales Port Director Guadalupe Ramirez. "Monies headed into Mexico are drug proceeds and would likely be used to fund further illegal activities."
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation's ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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