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Duo arrested for smuggling more than $3 million in cash

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Posted at 5:42 PM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 20:43:28-05

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two men on Tuesday afternoon for smuggling more than $3 million dollars that was being transported in separate vehicles traveling in North County.

At about 1:45 p.m. an agent conducted a vehicle stop on a Kia Forte on W Country Club Ln. after following the vehicle on I-15.  The agent suspected that the driver of the Kia Forte was driving in tandem with a Volkswagen Passat, which sped off as the vehicle stop was in progress.

At the scene of the vehicle stop, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted agents to conduct a search of the vehicle, resulting in the discovery of eight vacuum-sealed bundles containing $33,880 that was stashed in the center console.  A 53-year-old male U.S. citizen was arrested upon the discovery.

Additional agents were able to locate the Volkswagen Passat as it was abandoned at a cul-de-sac located in a residential area not far from the vehicle stop.  Soon after, the agents found the vehicle’s driver, a 41-year-old male Mexican national, hiding in some brush nearby and arrested him for suspicion of currency smuggling.  Agents searched the vehicle and seized $3,018,000 that was found inside eight boxes located in the trunk.

“This amount of money represents the largest currency seizure ever in San Diego Sector,” said Chief Patrol Agent Richard A. Barlow.  “The hard work and perseverance demonstrated by the involved agents was essential for this outcome.”

The two suspects were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations and are facing federal charges for currency smuggling.

To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance in corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders.  To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.