U.S. Tour Bus Passengers Found with $3.1 million in Cash at Texas Border
Fourteen passengers aboard a tour bus bound for Mexico have been arrested and charged for knowingly conspiring to evade currency transaction reporting requirements by concealing in luggage $3.1 million in U.S. currency.
Fourteen passengers aboard a tour bus - seven U.S. citizens and seven Mexican nationals - were arrested by Custom officers at the Hidalgo, Texas, port of entry after an intensive inspection of the tour bus resulted in discovering 17 pieces of luggage, each containing hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. currency. The cash was discovered wrapped in deflated air mattresses in all the luggage pieces. The currency totaling $3.1 million in cash was seized by officers.
“This seizure of $3.1 million in undeclared currency and 14 arrests, the largest currency seizure by border patrol in 2010, is a magnificent achievement and serves as a validation of our enhanced outbound enforcement effort.” stated the Department of Homeland Security.
A charge of conspiracy to smuggle bulk currency out of the United States carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release. It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000; but it is a federal offense not to declare currency totaling more than $10,000 or more upon entry into or exit from the U.S.