Photo courtesy CBP

CBP: Almost $500K seized leaving the country via Presidio Port of Entry

Earlier this week, a commercial bus carrying $465,755 in unreported U.S. currency was stopped by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers while leaving the United States at the Presidio port of entry.

“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.”

The seizure, was made just after noon on July 20th, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Homeland Security Investigations special agents were conducting a southbound check operation at the Presidio crossing.

While processing traffic, a commercial bus was selected for inspection. During the exam a CBP currency/firearms detecting dog alerted to something in the vehicle

 “CBP officers scanned the bus using a non-intrusive x-ray system and noted anomalies in the appearance of a wall behind the restroom,” officials shared. “Officers continued their exam and located 14 currency-filled bundles concealed behind the wall.”

HSI agents arrested both bus drivers. The two men, ages 47 and 68, are both citizens of Mexico. Six bus passengers were processed and released.

The bus and currency were seized by CBP and officials say the investigation continues.

CBP officials add that, although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, 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.

During inspections, CBP officers ensure that travelers fully understand federal currency reporting requirements and offer travelers multiple opportunities to accurately report all currency and monetary instruments they possess before proceeding with an inspection.

Officials say 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 was legitimate,” CBP officials added.

Photo courtesy CBP