Traffic stops leads to seizure of $112,000 in hidden cash near San Clemente; woman arrested

Local news

A 23-year-old driver was arrested after nearly $112,000 in cash was found hidden in her vehicle during a traffic stop near San Clemente last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday.

The unidentified woman was traveling with her young child in a Ford F250 truck when Border Patrol agents pulled over the vehicle on the southbound 5 Freeway around 1 p.m. on May 18, a CBP news release stated.

While being questioned, the woman “made several inconsistent statements” that led agents to ask her if they could search the truck, according to the release. She consented and agents began looking through the vehicle.

During the search, they found a backpack that contained three plastic bags filled with a total of $111,930 in U.S. currency, authorities said.

“The U.S. Border Patrol works tirelessly to protect the Homeland from transnational criminal organizations — the same criminal enterprises that poison our communities with narcotics and smuggle human beings like cargo. Seizing illicit gains from these criminal enterprises is one of the tactics the USBP uses to keep our country safe,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in the release.

The woman, a U.S. citizen, and the cash were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations, while the Border Patrol confiscated the truck. The child, meanwhile, was released to relatives.

No other details were immediately provided.

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