‘Mother lode’ -- look at those stacks👀: CBP officers seize $931K in unreported money at US-Mexico bridge

CBP South Texas' photo of the "mother lode," as the agency called it on social media. (CBP South Texas, CBP South Texas)

HOUSTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge Port of Entry seized $931,739 in bulk, unreported U.S. currency, the agency announced Thursday.

“Our officers use multiple law enforcement tools while conducting inbound and outbound inspections; their vigilance and attention to detail led to this significant currency seizure,” said Tater Ortiz, port director of Brownsville Port of Entry.

The seizure took place on Tuesday when CBP officers working at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge encountered a 21-year-old man -- a United States citizen -- driving a 2013 Chevrolet. The vehicle was selected for a routine outbound inspection. While in the secondary inspection area, with the aid of a non-intrusive inspection system and a canine unit, CBP officers discovered bulk currency hidden within the vehicle. CBP officers removed the bulk U.S. currency totaling $931,739 hidden within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency along with the vehicle. Homeland Security Investigations special agents arrested the driver and initiated a criminal investigation.

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements, the agency noted in its news release on the seizure. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.


About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.