Brownsville Man Convicted For Attempting To Smuggle More Than $600K
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Domingo Quesada-Hernandez, 43, of Brownsville, has been convicted of bulk cash smuggling, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Quesada-Hernandez pleaded guilty in federal court earlier today to evading a currency reporting requirement in his attempt to conceal $610,535 in a vehicle while trying to take the money into Mexico. The $610,535 has been preliminarily forfeited to the United States.
Quesada-Hernandez was arrested on May 21, 2012, after he approached the southbound inspection lanes at the Gateway International Port of Entry Bridge in Brownsville driving a Ford F150. Quezada-Hernandez was referred to secondary inspection after he and his two passengers appeared nervous, at which time Quesada-Hernandez denied possession of weapons and/or money in excess of $10,000 and did not complete the appropriate customs forms.
Quesada-Hernandez indicated he was the owner of the vehicle and further claimed that he had not done any type of work on it. A cursory inspection of the vehicle revealed fresh markings on the spare tire and agents also noticed the spare tire appeared to be bigger than the tires on the vehicle. The spare tire was removed and x-rayed, which revealed anomalies inside the tire. A search of the spare tire revealed 49 duck-taped bundles containing currency totaling $610,535.
At his plea today, Quesada-Hernandez admitted he intended to evade the currency reporting requirement and that he concealed the currency within the spare tire of the vehicle. Quesada-Hernandez also admitted he intended to transport and transfer the currency from Brownsville to Mexico.
Quesada-Hernandez has been permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing hearing, which U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen has set for April 15, 2013. At that time, he faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Castro.