I.C.E. News Release




ICE seizes $1.03M suspected drug money and private plane from Baltimore County airport

BALTIMORE – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Baltimore County Police Department, Maryland State Police and other members of a multi-agency task force seized $1.03 million in cash and a private aircraft transiting through Martin State Airport. On the evening of March 1, task force members observed suspicious activity surrounding a recently landed private aircraft. Following a K-9 inspection of the aircraft exterior and baggage, a search warrant was executed and several bundles of U.S. currency were recovered.

“With the support of our law enforcement partners, we have inflicted a significant hit on the criminal organizations that exploit our communities for financial gain. We will continue to target their illicit cash and disrupt their destructive business model,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson.

Transnational criminal groups use a network of sophisticated smuggling operations and tactics to move illicit proceeds in, around and out of the United States. Funds are often derived from a number of criminal activities, including trafficking narcotics, weapons, and people. Targeting criminal assets is one of the government's most effective tools in combating transnational crime.

Bulk cash smugglers use a variety of transport mechanisms, including passenger vehicles, private and commercial airplanes, trains, boats and commercial trucks. These crimes are punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and seizure of all associated funds.

The task force is led by HSI and staffed by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Maryland State Police, and the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. This task force is supported by the Baltimore-Washington High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.

As part of the effort to combat bulk cash smuggling, ICE established the Bulk Cash Smuggling Center in 2009. The center is an operational, intelligence driven investigative unit that combats bulk cash smuggling from both national and international perspectives. It disrupts pipelines used to move currency derived from illicit activity including drugs, weapons, human trafficking, foreign political corruption and contraband.