U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized more than $3 million in cash on Tuesday in what is the largest cash smuggling bust in San Diego County history.
CBP agents began following a Kia Forte on Interstate 15 in North County and suspected that the driver was traveling in tandem with a Volkswagen Passat.
Agents initiated a traffic stop of the Kia at around 1:45 p.m. on West Country Club Lane in Escondido. The Volkswagen, which followed the Kia into the residential area, sped off.
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CBP agents, with the help of a K-9 unit, searched the vehicle and found $33,880 in cash dispersed in eight vacuum-sealed packages stashed in the center console. The driver, a 53-year-old male American citizen, was arrested upon the discovery of the cash.
Shortly after the arrest, agents located the Volkswagen they suspected was driving in tandem with the Kia abandoned in a nearby cul-de-sac and found eight boxes containing a total of $3,018,000 in paper bills in the trunk.
The driver of the Volkswagen, a 41-year old male Mexican national, was found hiding in nearby bushes and was taken into custody.
Both men were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations and face federal charges for currency smuggling.