Texan caught smuggling over $30,000

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

LAREDO, Texas – A 36-year-old man has been charged with bulk cash smuggling, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against Modesto Zepeda for smuggling $30,025 into the United States from Mexico.

Originally charged by criminal complaint, he made his first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher dos Santos Feb. 16. He is expected to appear for his initial appearance on the indictment in the near future.

On Feb. 14, Zepeda attempted to enter United States through the Gateway to the Americas Port of Entry in Laredo as a pedestrian, according to the charges. There, he allegedly gave a negative declaration for possessing currency over $10,000.

The charges allege law enforcement searched him and found a total of $30,025 hidden inside his wallet, pants pocket and underwear.

If convicted, Zepeda faces up to five years in prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Isaac is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.