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Contraband
03/25/2010

ICE and CBP seize more than $46,000 and arrest man for bulk cash smuggling

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents arrested a man earlier this week who attempted to leave the Isla Grande Airport in San Juan without declaring excess currency in the amount of $46,809.

Miguel Arroyo-Blas, 44, was traveling from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Curacao, on board a chartered plane.

During a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) outbound inspection, Arroyo-Blas and his wife, declared to be transporting $3,500 and $2,000 in U.S. currency, respectively.

CBP officers noticed an unexplained bulge in Arroyo-Blas's midsection and proceeded to conduct a personal search which revealed a large quantity of U.S. currency concealed within his spandex underwear.

"Bulk cash smuggling is a serious crime," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. "Those who think that our ports are easy transshipment points for contraband are mistaken. ICE, along with our Department of Homeland Security partners, will continue using our unique authorities to enforce our immigration and customs laws."

Arroyo-Blas was charged with bulk cash smuggling and failure to declare an amount of money exceeding $10,000. He was transferred to the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center where he remains awaiting the outcome of his case.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico accepted this case for prosecution. If convicted, the defendant faces a sentence of up to five years in prison. Arroyo-Blas is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The ICE investigation into this case is ongoing.