A woman tried to smuggle $65,000 in a box she decorated with gift wrapping

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A woman attempted to smuggle more than $65,000 in a box she had decorated with gift wrapping, according to an affidavit of arrest.

On January 24, Laura Patricia Cruz of Fort Worth was leaving the country in a white Kia Sorento via the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge. During an exit inspection, she told U.S. Customs and Border officials she had no more than $10,000 in cash.

But CBP officers would discover a box in plain view in the rear seat of the Kia. Cruz said the box contained a gift but she didn’t know what it was. An inspection of the box resulted in the seizure of several plastic bags containing cash. CBP seized $65,560 in total.


Special Agents and Homeland Security Investigations Task Force agents responded to investigate the attempted money smuggling. In an interview after the arrest, Cruz said he knew the box was hiding money. CRUZ claimed that the money inside the box belonged to a family friend who recruited her to transport the money from Fort Worth to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

She expected a payment of $1,800, according to court documents.

“Cruz claimed that she was transporting the change to Mexico as a favor to her friend. Cruz admitted that the friend who recruited her to transport the money told her that it was a lot of money and Cruz said admitted that she thought the box contained a lot of money because it was heavy when she held it,” the affidavit states.

Cruz reportedly admitted to taping the box and covering the box with decorative gift wrap before arriving at the bridge. Cruz further admitted to deleting the phone conversation and cell phone call history between her and the friend who recruited her to carry the money, according to court documents.

Cruz was charged with making a false statement.

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