Border Patrol agents busted a woman in California with $414,000 in cash stashed in a Toyota Prius, authorities said.
The 46-year-old US citizen, who was not publicly identified, was stopped while driving on Interstate 5 — which runs from Mexico’s border to the Canadian line — near Oceanside on July 13, officials said Friday.
Agents requested permission to search the woman’s 2012 Toyota Prius and uncovered 37 bundles of cash wrapped in cellophane concealed inside the car’s doors.
The woman was taken into custody for suspicion of bulk currency smuggling, Border Patrol officials said.
Both the cash and the Prius were seized and the woman is being prosecuted for currency smuggling, according to US Customs and Border Protection officials.
“The US Border Patrol works tirelessly to protect the homeland from transnational criminal organizations — the same criminal enterprises that poison our communities with narcotics and smuggle human beings like cargo,” San Diego Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said.
A message seeking additional comment from the agency was not immediately returned Wednesday. CBP officials announced last week that agents stopped nearly 190,000 people trying to illegally enter the US from Mexico in June — a 5 percent increase from May.
Preliminary data, meanwhile, indicates that more than 1 million illegal crossings will have been attempted during the first seven months of 2021 — despite expectations that the illegal immigration crisis would subside as temperatures climbed along the southwestern border.