AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– An Aurora man has been arrested after he was linked to a suspected money laundering operation. The cash was seized after it was discovered hidden inside a box of laundry detergent.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Protection officers and Border Control agents seized $52,072 in unreported currency at the El Paso, Texas port of entry on Monday.

The seizure was made at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing at approximately 5 a.m. when a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina attempted to leave the U.S. for Mexico.

Agents stopped the vehicle and initiated an exam. During the search they located a box of laundry detergent which appeared to have been tampered with. They opened the box and found five vacuum sealed plastic bags of currency hidden inside.

The driver of the vehicle, Edgar Lopez Chavez, was arrested. Chavez, 36, is a citizen of Mexico and lives in Aurora. He was arrested by Homeland Security Investigations special agents.

Cash found in laundry detergent box as part of money laundering operation. (credit: Customs and Border Patrol)

Cash found in laundry detergent box as part of money laundering operation. (credit: Customs and Border Patrol)

“Every dollar that we seize is one less dollar available for criminal organizations to further their illicit activities,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. “The persistent presence of CBP officers and Border Patrol agents checking the flow of southbound goods and people are generating important enforcement activity regularly.”

Individuals are allowed to carry any amount of currency into and out of the U.S. If the quantity is $10,000 or higher, it must be reported to Customs and Border Patrol.

Failure to do so may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.


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