PHOENIX — Seizures of money bound mostly for Mexico's violent drug cartels more than quadrupled this year on the Arizona border, and government officials are crediting beefed-up screening at checkpoints.
Inspectors intercepted $1.1 million heading into Mexico in fiscal 2008. This year, they netted $4.9 million.
Brian Levin, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, said the seizures reflect a new focus in the smuggling clampdown and the U.S. efforts to help Mexico fight its bloody drug war, though the amount confiscated is just a fraction of the millions of dollars in drug- and human-smuggling profits funneled back to Mexican syndicates each year.
Federal law requires that cash transactions or shipments of more than $10,000 must be declared, whether in the form of currency or wire transfers.
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Until this year, U.S. inspections on the border primarily targeted incoming traffic from Mexico while ignoring vehicles headed south.
Broken pipe forces air terminal evacuation
WASHINGTON — Officials at Reagan National Airport have evacuated part of a terminal and closed a baggage claim area after a broken pipe caused flooding.
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Tara Hamilton, said the flooding Saturday was ankle deep in the terminal C baggage claim area. She said a dozen gates in terminal C were also closed.
The gates were mostly for US Airways flights. Airline spokesman Todd Lemacher says US Airways has canceled the remaining flights in and out of the airport.