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US citizen arrested trying to smuggle $80K into Mexico

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Otay Mesa port of entry Tuesday arrested a Fresno woman after discovering nearly $80,000 in unreported U.S. currency during an alleged smuggling attempt.

The incident occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. on February 11, when CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico along the 905 south. A CBP officer targeted a blue 2007 Dodge Charger and referred the driver and vehicle for a more in-depth examination.

A CBP officer with a currency and firearms detector dog screened the vehicle, and the canine alerted to the dashboard on the passenger side. Officers discovered several bundles of U.S. currency concealed in the dashboard area behind the vehicle’s glove compartment.

Officers extracted three bundles with $79,925 in cash from the vehicle.

The driver, a 35-year-old Mexican citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing, and was later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await criminal arraignment.

CBP seized the vehicle and currency.

It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

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