Customs officers find $381,000 in spare tire

CBP Photo

A Pharr man is behind bars after customs officers found more than $381,000 dollars in his truck TMs spare tire.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrested 19-year-old Erik Garza on bulk cash smuggling charges on Sunday.

Court records released Wednesday morning show that Garza was headed into Mexico at Brownsville TMs B&M International Bridge.

Garza was headed into Matamoros in a 1996 Dodge truck when he was stopped for an outbound inspection.

Court records show that customs officers found $381,060 dollars wrapped in 15 bundles inside his spare tire.

Garza appeared before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Ronald Morgan in Brownsville on Tuesday morning.

Court records show that Garza is a United States citizen who lives in Pharr.

Judge Morgan denied bond for Garza until a Friday morning hearing.

Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) told Action 4 News that the incident underscores the need for more outbound inspections.

Lucio recently authored Senate Bill 288, which would allow state officials to set up inspection points in areas near the border.

The Brownsville lawmaker said drug profits and weapons need to be prevent from headed south and into the hands of drug cartels.

"I am hoping to pass legislation that will allow DPS the ability to more effectively intercept southbound guns and currency," Lucio said in a statement. "This will help our border communities to combat gangs and drug violence, while also helping the people of Mexico as they battle the cartels."