Saul Sanchez arrested at Mexico/USA border with $1,858,085 in cash

Saul Sanchez arrested at Mexico/USA border with $1,858,085 in cash

Part of Narcotic News' "The Million Dollar Club"

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry intercepted a vehicle containing $1,858,085. The money was concealed in the door panels and the rear cargo door of a 1992 Ford Expedition. The seizure is the largest currency seizure made at the El Paso port of entry in more than a decade and possibly the second largest ever.

The seizure was made shortly before 11 a.m. when the vehicle carrying a family of three entered the Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) port of entry from Mexico. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth noticed that the driver of the vehicle was nervous during a routine inspection. The CBP officer began to search the vehicle using a "Buster" density meter and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband. The CBP officer examined a door more closely and spotted bundles of U.S. currency wrapped in clear plastic tape behind the panel.

CBP officers took custody of the driver and continued their inspection of the vehicle. They discovered bundles of currency concealed in all five doors of the vehicle. Denominations discovered included $100's, $50's, $20's, $10's and $5’s.

"This is an exceptionally significant currency seizure," said Gene Garza, CBP acting Director of Field Operations in El Paso. "The majority of currency seizures made at this port of entry are of the five figure variety. Taking almost $2 million away from a criminal organization in an instant really hits hard."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents arrested the driver of the vehicle on currency smuggling charges. He is identified as 42-year-old Saul Sanchez, a Mexican citizen residing in Kansas City, Kan. His spouse and their 2-year-old child were released. The investigation continues.

In what is believed to be the largest currency seizure on record at the El Paso port, officers at BOTA stopped $5,649,760 that was being smuggled out of the country on April 9, 1997. Other large El Paso port of entry currency seizures include $692,543 confiscated at BOTA on July 7, 2003; $559,634 seized at BOTA on April 23, 1993; and $554,143 confiscated at BOTA on December 16, 1993.

Source: US Customs

This seizure is listed in "The Million Dollar Club" of Narcotic News.com.

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