EL CENTRO, Calif. – A 29-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle more than $700,000 past the U.S. – Mexico border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Monday.
The Feb. 17 incident occurred at a checkpoint located in the El Centro Sector of the border. At around 7:38 p.m., agents noted erratic behavior from the driver of an SUV making its way through the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint inspection lanes.
CBP said the female driver was then ushered to a secondary inspection. When a Border Patrol K-9 inspected the vehicle, they detected something in the rear of the car, prompting the search and subsequent seizure of the money.
Border Patrol K-9s are trained to detect the odors of concealed humans, controlled substances, firearms, and U.S. currency.
Approximately $746,050 was discovered in a large black duffle bag in the back of the car, according to CBP. The driver was arrested on suspicion of smuggling the cash.
Officials said that investigators learned that money found in the car was derived from illicit activities, however, they have not identified specifics.
“Another noteworthy seizure by Indio Station agents,” said El Centro Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino. “The El Centro Sector is a very unfavorable environment for drug traffickers, and any criminals for that matter, and I’d advise potential lawbreakers to give our professional agents a wide berth.”
The driver, the currency and the vehicle were turned over the Homeland Security for further investigation.