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- 05-19-2012, 01:25 PM #1
TX. $1.4 million in cash found in Lower Valley home
$1.4 million in cash found in Lower Valley home
By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Timeselpasotimes.com
Posted: 05/19/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT
Police seized over $1.4 million in 129 bundles seized Tuesday by the West Texas Stash House Unit in the bedroom of a home in the 200 block of South Schutz Drive. (Courtesy El Paso Police Department)El Paso narcotics investigators seized $1.4 million in cash from a home in the Lower Valley, police officials said Friday.
The case is one of the largest cash seizures by authorities in the city that is a hotbed of Mexican drug-cartel activity.
Police officials said the cash was in 129 wrapped bundles found Tuesday by the West Texas Stash House Unit. The money was in the bedroom of a home in the 200 block of South Schutz Drive.
The total amount was $1,413,296.
El Paso police spokesman Darrel Petry said that no arrests have been made and that the seizure was made as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation to determine whether the money was illicit drug proceeds.
A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office said that the seizure is under investigation and that prosecutors have 30 days to file a petition to keep the money.
The money was at an address described in property records as a small apartment building in a working-class neighborhood two blocks west of Speaking Rock Entertainment Center. Police would not say what led them to the cash.
"It's one of the largest seizures made by our stash house unit," Petry said.
"For us, it's not very common, but we have heard about it (similar bulk cash seizures in El Paso) because our geographical location and because there are so many law enforcement agencies here," Petry said. The money was found by a unit that investigates stash houses, locations where illegal drugs are stored after they are smuggled across the border before the drugs are transported to cities across United States. While drugs move north, bulk cash shipments move south to Mexico.
Law enforcement officials have said that most large seizures of cash on the border are linked to drug trafficking.
In February 2011, maintenance workers checking on a water leak found more than $982,000 in bundles of suspected "contraband" cash hidden in the bedroom closet wall, boxes, a garbage bag and two safes in a West Side condo, court documents stated.
The documents stated the condo was dusty and not lived in. Some of the money, which was mostly in $20 bills, was moldy.
The condo had been bought in 1997 by a man whose whereabouts are unknown. The case is pending in court.
The cash seizure in the Lower Valley was larger than other such seizures in recent years.
Last November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers checking traffic headed to Juárez seized $304,389 from a pickup at the Bridge of the Americas.
In January 2011, CBP officers seized more than $400,000 in cash during a check of cars headed into Mexico.
In 2010, officials seized $530,000 at the Stanton Street bridge, and found $212,000 in a Lower Valley home. In 2006, Mexican authorities confiscated $1 million in cash inside three suitcases at the Zaragoza Bridge.
Anyone with information on drug stash houses and suspicions of drug-trafficking in their neighborhood may call the West Texas Stash House Unit at 629-8600 or Crime Stoppers of El Paso at 566-8477.
Daniel Borunda may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6102. Follow him on Twitter @BorundaDaniel.
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- 05-19-2012, 01:38 PM #2
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