3 Million seized in San Diego
Two discreet, ordinary vehicles drive in tandem through Escondido county, a city outside of central San Diego, known for crystal meth and heroin trafficking, the Passat and the Kia could have contained any average person, a weary commute home from work, another day having passed by.
Border Patrol agents followed the two cars off the Interstate 15, southbound, and into residential Escondido, where agents pulled over the Kia, while the Passat drove off. Inside the Kia, driven by a 53 year old American citizen, agents discovered 33, 880 in U.S currency, wrapped and stacked, and concealed in cardboard boxes.
Other agents covered the area and found the Passat, on Bittersweet Street, it's driver, a 41 year old Mexican citizen, hiding in some bushes nearby. Inside his trunk was just over 3 million, wrapped and stacked, concealed in boxes. The money was in different denominations, all representative stacked and packaged, including $1's, $5's, and $20's.
A Border Patrol separately declared it the largest cash seizure in San Diego County, by Border Patrol operation. The suspects were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations, likely building a larger case, the 3 million being just one piece of a picture. HSI agents in Eastlake, San Diego, an enclave of Mexican families from Tijuana, recently shot and killed a suspect in a trafficking undercover op gone wrong.
The men were charged with bulk cash smuggling. Who are these two? Who has to make that call and say 'We lost them'? The money is very likely brought down from Los Angeles/Orange County stash houses, to be transported in Tijuana. The smaller bills indicate some of the product was distributed at retail, and maybe the suppliers were paid quickly in smaller bills, rather then waiting to change over into larger bills.
In May of this year, multiple Federal agencies in a task force, descended upon a house a few blocks from Disneyland, where 2.3 million in suspected drug proceeds was seized. No arrests were made at that time, but investigators linked the money to members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Sources: UT San Diego