Border Patrol stop finds $500K in suspected drug money

Gary Warth

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a 35-year-old woman suspected of smuggling more than a half million dollars of suspected drug money after a vehicle stop on Interstate 5 near Oceanside.

Agents stopped the woman’s 2012 Jeep Cherokee at about 5 p.m. Wednesday in the southbound lanes of the freeway.

During the stop, a Border Patrol dog alerted agents to something at the rear of the vehicle. Agents then found a suitcase filled with a large amount of U.S. currency.

The cash totaled $532,596 and is suspected to be proceeds from illegal drug sales.

“This cash seizure denies transnational criminal organizations of illicit proceeds used to run criminal enterprise,” said Thomas Blanks, Patrol Agent in Charge of the San Clemente Border Patrol Station, in a statement.

The woman was arrested and turned over to agents from the Department of Homeland Security. The vehicle and the money were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Coincidentally, the Border Patrol in San Diego had a $290,000 cash seizure on the same highway on the same date last year. The largest cash seizure by local agents was $3 million on Aug. 23 last year.

To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.