Thousands of dollars seized at border

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SAN LUIS - The following is a press release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers seized almost $200,000 in undeclared currency at the San Luis Port of Entry on Wednesday after discovering bundles of cash concealed in a compartment built into a car heading out of the United States.

"Part of our mission is to detect and stop contraband smuggling attempts," said Port Director William Brooks, "and when we stop what might be illicit funds from reaching the hands of terrorist groups, smuggling organizations, or others involved in illicit activity, then we are accomplishing our mission."

The incident began late Wednesday evening, around 10:45, when officers performing inspections of travelers and vehicles heading out of the country stopped two women in a minivan heading to Mexico.During routine questioning regarding weapons, currency, and other items being brought out of the country, officers became suspicious of their answers and decided a through inspection was needed.

Officers searched the vehicle and discovered a compartment built into the vehicle that, when opened, revealed bundles of currency hidden inside.A count of the bills resulted in a total of $199,297 USD.

The money and vehicle were seized and the two women were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation.

Federal law requires the reporting of all negotiable monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 when imported into or exported from the United States.Monetary instruments include U.S. or foreign coins, currency, traveler's checks, money orders, and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form.Any traveler with monetary instruments of more than $10,000 is required to file a Report of International Transportation in Currency or Monetary Instruments with a CBP officer at a port of entry.Failure to do so can result in civil penalties, seizure of the funds, and criminal charges.