21-month prison sentence for habitual cash smuggler

McALLEN — A man who admitted to attempting to smuggle more than $200,000 in cash into Mexico was sentenced for his role in the scheme, records show.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Clarens Antonio Coronado Garcia to a 21-month prison sentence in connection with an August 2019 incident at the Falcon Dam Port of Entry in Falcon Heights, Texas, where he was found to have concealed $214,660 in cash, the complaint against Coronado stated.

During an attempt to exit the U.S. at the Falcon Dam port of entry, the complaint alleges Coronado did not declare bulk cash in excess of $10,000 as required by federal law.

“Officers conducted a search of the vehicle and subsequently discovered bundles of U.S. currency totaling approximately $214,660 (U.S. dollars) concealed inside the center hump of the vehicle,” the document stated.

Upon arrest, Coronado waived his right to an attorney, and provided statements to federal agents.

“Coronado admitted he was going to get paid approximately $2,000 (U.S. dollars) by an unidentified person in Mexico to transport an unknown large amount of U.S. currency concealed somewhere inside the vehicle from Houston, Texas, to the Mexican state of Nuevo León,” the court record shows.

The 41-year-old Mexican national told federal agents he was aware it was illegal to not declare bulk cash in excess of $10,000.

In addition to that information, the complaint states that Coronado admitted that he had illegally transported large amounts of bulk cash from the U.S. into Mexico in exchange for payment on at least two occasions in the last year.

As part of a plea agreement signed by Coronado on Oct. 31, 2019, the government agreed to dismiss one count of reports on export and import of monetary instruments, in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of bulk cash smuggling, according to documents.