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May 2, 2022Tucson, AZ, United StatesContraband

Southern Arizona man found guilty of bulk cash smuggling following joint ICE HSI, CBP probe

TUCSON, Ariz. – A Southern Arizona man was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury of attempting to smuggle over $200,000 in U.S. currency into Mexico following an interdiction by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) who then turned the incident to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Sells office.

Charles Robert Wright, 61, is scheduled to be sentenced July 6, before U.S. District Judge Rosemary Márquez.

The facts at trial showed that on April 18, 2021, Wright was the owner, driver, and sole occupant of a Winnebago Adventurer when he attempted to leave the United States through the Lukeville Port of Entry. During outbound inspection, Wright denied transporting over ten thousand dollars in the Winnebago. The vehicle was subjected to an X-ray, which revealed abnormalities in the roof. CBP officers conducted a search of the vehicle and found a non-factory compartment that contained two plastic bags of U.S. currency, which was folded and rubber banded together. Officers also located 10 additional individually wrapped cellophane packages that contained U.S. currency. The total amount of cash found in the vehicle was $204,080.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew G. Eltringham, District of Arizona, Tucson, OCDETF, is handling the prosecution.

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.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat bulk cash smuggling @HSIPhoenix.

Updated: 05/03/2022