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May 18, 2022McAllen, TX, United StatesFinancial Crimes

California woman charged with smuggling over $114k inside taxi, following HSI, federal partner, probe

MCALLEN, Texas – A California woman, residing in Atlanta, Georgia, was indicted Tuesday for smuggling cash into Mexico from the United States, following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the U.S. Border Patrol, RGV Sector.

A south Texas federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment on Rosa Maria Zuniga-Sagrero, 26, for attempting to smuggle cash into Mexico from the US. Zuniga-Sagrero is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Scott Hacker to face charges.

According to court documents, Zuniga-Sagrero attempted to pass through a Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint while a passenger in a taxi. BP referred the vehicle to secondary inspection, at which time she allegedly made a negative declaration for having in excess of $10,000. However, A search of Zuniga’s jacket pockets revealed three sealed packages and a total of $114,294 in her purse, according to the charges.

If convicted, Zuniga faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eliza Carmen Rodriguez, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.

HSI will continue to use robust investigative authorities to identify, investigate, and apprehend those involved in bulk cash smuggling. Report suspicious activity to HSI at 1-866-347-2423.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.