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Contraband
11/20/2008

ICE seizes more than $186,000 and arrests a woman for bulk cash smuggling

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents arrested a woman who attempted to leave the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the Dominican Republic without declaring excess currency in the amount of $186,985.

During a routine inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Raquel Guzman, 47, declared to CBP inspectors that she was carrying $3,800.

A subsequent examination of Guzman's purse and checked-in luggage revealed a total of $4,080 in her purse and $182,905 in vacuum-sealed plastic bags within her luggage for a total of $186,985.

"Bulk cash smuggling is a serious crime," said Manuel Oyola Torres, special agent in charge of the ICE 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."

Guzman was charged with bulk cash smuggling and failure to declare an amount of money exceeding $10,000. She was transferred to the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center where she remains awaiting the outcome of her case.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico accepted the case for prosecution. The ICE investigation into this case is ongoing. If convicted, Guzman faces a sentence of up to five years in prison. Guzman is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.