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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Arizona CBP Officers Responsible for Seizures Totaling More Than $1 Million in Cash in February

Tucson, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers continue to effectively interdict undeclared cash heading into Mexico. In the month of February, CBP officers were involved in the seizure of approximately $1,021,000 in illicit cash. In an 11-day period, more than $639,950 of the illicit cash was seized along with the arrest of four people. “Our officers are fully engaged in efforts to deny criminal organizations the money they need to operate,” said Director of Field Operations David Higgerson. “We are working around the clock to stop these organizations from benefiting from their illegal activities.” On Feb 16, CBP officers at the Port of Douglas were screening vehicles and travelers leaving the country when they encountered a 41-year-old man from Agua Prieta, Mexico, driving a 2000 Ford Taurus. During inspection of his vehicle, officers discovered $220,100 in undeclared cash hidden inside the front bumper. On Feb 24, CBP officers at the Port of Douglas were screening vehicles and travelers leaving the country when they encountered a 50-year-old man from Cananea, Mexico, driving a Nissan Maxima. During inspection of his vehicle, officers discovered $99,900 in undeclared cash hidden inside a seat backrest and the rear wheel wells. The following day, CBP officers at the Dennis DeConcini crossing at the Port of Nogales were screening vehicles and travelers leaving the country when they encountered a 50-year-old man from Hermosillo, Mexico, driving a Ford F-250. During inspection of his vehicle, officers discovered $249,940 in undeclared cash hidden inside the spare tire. On Feb 27, CBP officers at the Dennis DeConcini crossing at the Port of Nogales were screening vehicles and travelers leaving the country when they encountered a 31-year-old woman from Phoenix driving a Nissan Sentra. During inspection of her vehicle, officers discovered $70,010 hidden inside the windshield shroud. All four people were arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution. Also, as part of the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats (ACTT), CBP officers assisted the Douglas Arizona Police Department (DPD) with the location of an additional $230,000 in cash which was seized by the DPD. A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Office of Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers’ primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws. Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Janet Napolitano, has engaged in an unprecedented effort to bring focus and intensity to Southwest border security, coupled with a reinvigorated, smart and effective approach to enforcing immigration laws in the interior of our country. The effort also place emphasis on the screening of southbound rail and vehicle traffic for the illegal weapons and cash that are helping to fuel the cartel violence in Mexico. 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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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