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Financial Crimes
05/12/2011

Federal grand jury indicts south Texas man on bulk-cash smuggling charges

Law enforcement seized nearly $700,000 in cash hidden in his truck

LUBBOCK, Texas - A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment on Wednesday charging a south Texas man with conspiracy to commit bulk-cash smuggling and attempted bulk-cash smuggling. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. The case is being investigated by DPS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Brown County District Attorney's Office.

According to documents filed in the case, a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officer on May 6 conducted a routine traffic stop of Oscar M. Escobar, 36, of Rocksprings, Texas, who was driving his truck southbound on Highway 377 in Brownwood, Texas. A complete search revealed that $696,021 was stashed and secreted in his truck.

The indictment alleges that Escobar conspired with others and knowingly concealed $696,021 in U.S. currency, attempting to transport it from Mineral Wells, Texas, to Del Rio, Texas, for ultimate delivery to Acuna, Mexico.

A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The attempted cash smuggling count carries, upon conviction, a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, the indictment included a forfeiture allegation which would require Escobar, upon conviction, to forfeit the seized funds to the U.S.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey R. Haag of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock, is in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney John de la Garza, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dallas, is handling the forfeiture.