Melinda Diaz arrested on federal bulk currency smugglingPosted on February 20, 2008
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the arrest of a United States citizen who attempted to smuggle $29,100 into the United States.
On February 20, CBP officers encountered Melinda Diaz, a 32-year-old U.S. citizen from East Elmhurst, N.Y. as she applied for admission into the United States. Diaz was a passenger aboard a commercial bus that entered the United States at the Peace Bridge border crossing in Buffalo.
Diaz, who was traveling with her husband and another friend, advised CBP officers that they were vacationing in Canada but returned early because she was suffering from a toothache. All three subjects were referred to CBP for a secondary enforcement exam. During the course of the inspection, both Diaz and her husband each claimed to be in possession of less than $10,000 in U.S. dollars. Diaz claimed to have $91.00 and her husband and the friend each claimed to have $8,000.
A search of Diaz's purse revealed $1,800. A further inspection of Diaz revealed $9,700 hidden in her groin area. Diaz's husband was found to have $9,000 in his pants pocket and an additional $8,600 was found in a backpack belonging to the friend. An interview by CBP officers and agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that the currency found on all three subjects belonged to Diaz and that the money was divided to avoid the currency reporting laws.
The law requires any individual who is transporting, attempts or causes to transport currency or other monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 (U.S. funds or its foreign equivalent) at one time from the United States to any foreign place, or into the United States from any foreign place, must file a report with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
CBP seized the currency, which totaled $29,100. Diaz was arrested on federal charges of bulk currency smuggling and turned over to agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and potential prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Source: U.S. Customs